Fantastic Mr Fox

Braehead Arena Glasgow 05/03/2009 Davis Cup Great Britain vs Ukraine As wintry weather returns to the UK a Fox arrives early at Braehead Arena, Glasgow presumably to collect his tickets for Great Britain's Europe/Africa Zone Group I Tie. With the weather in Ukraine currently minus 1 degree and snow forecast - the Ukraine team should feel at home! Photo Patrick McCann/Fotosports International
I saw a fox the other night.  I was down in the kitchen  at 4.00 a.m.,  marveling at how cold the tiled floor felt under my bare feet and how bright the moonlight was on the snow in the back garden. Then as I stared through the kitchen window I saw a shadow – maybe more an outline than a shadow – moving from the middle of the garden to the line of cursed Castlewellan Golds that separate my garden from the man next door’s.  Two things told me immediately it was a fox: the low-slung movement of the creature – it went forward in an unhurried way, head thrust out, rest of the body following; and the tail, normally bushy but tonight, with the temperature around -10 C, the shape of a small Christmas tree.  It wasn’t rushing but it wasn’t dawdling either – heading back to its den, maybe, after a night hunting for food.  I imagined the bright eyes, the sharp snout, the small vicious teeth: a complex, ruthless, family-centered creature. The God who made this animal left no room for sentimentality or anthropomorphism.  This was closer to William Blake’s ‘Tiger, Tiger, burning bright/In the forests of the night’ – a thing of wild, untamable, dangerous beauty.  In the morning I saw where he’d come into the garden through a small gap in the hedge between me and my neighbour on the other side. His tracks in the snow were small, measured, unstoppable.

One Response to Fantastic Mr Fox

  1. sarahewa December 23, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

    Lovely description of a fox in movement.

    In 1996 I encountered a fox and a magpie, outside our little cabin, in the Interior of B.C. The fox was circling our garbage and the magpie was flying around harassing it. Eventually the fox trotted off, with a quick glance over its shoulder.