Molly came breathless, running into the mudroom, door slamming behind her "Mommy! There's a fox in the backyard!" In about four seconds, I'd grabbed my camera and ran barefoot in my pyjamas onto the deck. It was wet and cold and I shoved the camera at Meghan, who had followed her siblings and me.
"Here! Try and get a photo if I miss him!" I scooted back inside for some boots and a coat. Who knew if I'd be tracking the little guy far from the yard. Oliver, Molly and cousin Sadie were crouched and pointing behind our thirty-foot spruce.
"He's just lying there all curled up!"
"Aw, Mommy, he's so cute."
"Should we go up to him?"
I turned my lens to zoom in and took a few steps toward the evergreen. The fox didn't move. In fact, he didn't seem to mind me coming closer and squatting near him at all. That concerned me a little but I really wanted a good photo :) I told the kids to stay back. The fox yawned and scratched himself. He was completely disinterested in us. I shot several more photos. It was as though he was posing, turning his head this way and that. Then he curled up a little tighter.
The kids chattered behind me and I stood and told them to run and get Sadie's mom, who was working down at the nursery. As we all dispersed, I looked back and the fox was gone. "Nevermind," I called, "he left." I carefully and quickly strode in the only direction he could've gone and I spotted him sitting beside the horse paddock by the fence. He strolled along the pasture, perfect gait, no evident injuries. He didn't seem sick. He just seemed calm and quite used to city-life. Urban-sprawl having much to do with that, no doubt. Our woods across the road had been dwindling for years.
I was taken with this sweet fox's beauty and am always amazed and grateful when God points out less common parts of His creation to us. He trotted off toward a small shed at our nursery and I headed back to the house. The kids mentioned later that they saw him again. Perhaps he'll hang around for a while. I'm glad my kiddos find just as much joy in wild creatures as I do. But, discovering them in your backyard while playing? Even more exciting!