Look closely in the corn patch in our backyard and you will not see a fox. But I did. Right there in the space between the two rows where I occasionally toss food scraps. Right there on the evening after I’d thrown away some old sausage. Right there, crouched over the sausage links looking up at me, not moving, not blinking, when I stopped dead in my tracks, laundry basket in hand, just a few steps from the clothesline.
Is that a fox, I thought, even as I swiftly debated between feigning a run at him (No, Cindy, what if he charges?) or turning tale and racing back to the house. (No, you idiot, what if it makes him charge? You’ll never outrun him.)
With everything to lose (I’m talking about my life), I chose my only safe option. I backed up, slowly, eyes locked on the beast, until I reached the patio, yanked on the kitchen door, slammed myself safely inside…and breathed.
Whew! Well, that was quite an adventure. I couldn’t wait to tell my husband about it. A fox! We’d seen deer and turkeys and turtles in out backyard over the years. But a fox. Wow! This was something.
When dear Keith came home that night I sprang right into my tale expecting to be met with awe and wonder. Instead I got skepticism.
“Are you sure it was a fox?” Keith asked. “It was probably a cat. Are you sure it wasn’t just a cat, Cin?”
“Was it red or gray?” my son asked.
And you know, for the life of me, I couldn’t say for sure. I’m thinking gray. It seems like I’d have noticed red. But I can’t say. I can tell you about his hungry, squinting black eyes. I can tell you how he looked fearlessly and, dare I say it, arrogantly at me. Almost daringly: Cross that line. But with the evening light creating shadows in the corn rows, no, I couldn’t say what color the stupid thing was.
I saw my fox one other time since then. He–Surely he’s a he. A she wouldn’t have looked so ferocious–He turned quickly and ran deep into the corn rows. No one else was with me. Again.
That was last summer. All this year I watched for Mr. Fox, but alas he has, um, outfoxed me. Well, I don’t mean to sterotype but they don’t say “sly as a fox” for nothing. Anyhow, despite my watchfulness, no fox has appeared in the corn patch. No validation of last year’s siting. No respect from the doubters among us.
It’s just the kind of thing a foxy creature would do.