with Horse and Hound

Fuss, Fuss

norman.karen.farnleyI’ve been grousing about four long rows of round hay bales left in my field. The guys that make the hay usually take the bales right off. But it’s been two weeks, and they’re still sitting there. Now, I’m going to have four long stretches of dead grass. Fuss, fuss.

This morning I took my dog Mara out for a walk as usual, and, glancing over to where the round bales were still sitting, it seemed there was something lying on top of one. Too big for one of the cats and not the right color. I recalled that foxes love to perch on top of round bales. Every warrior seeks the high ground. I stopped, hoping it was what I thought, and sure enough an alert head and two enormous ears fixed me in their sights.

The pair of us stayed put and watched each other. Neither of us moved. Mara didn’t even see the fox. She just continued her own morning ritual—nose down, quartering the area, reading her newspaper.

I was tempted to go in the house to tell Joan to come out, but was afraid the fox would be gone if I did. Soon it was apparent that the fox was in no hurry to move. I went back in, called to Joan to come out, and picked up the field glasses.

Good ol’ fox was still there when we returned, but the additional person made him restless. Soon he stood, hopped off the bale, and padded his way to the automatic horse waterer to drink. He was a gray fox.

“That’s Jimmy,” breathed Joan.

Now for the rest of the story.

The morning of Jimmy Young’s Memorial Service three weeks ago, the news of his passing still raw in our minds, Joan saw a young gray fox in this same field. Generally, Joan is a pragmatic sort, but she took it as a sign.

We hadn’t seen a gray fox here for twenty-five years, so I was skeptical. But a few days later we both saw two young grays in the field across the road. Recently, we’ve seen just the one.

It’s a thrill to see a fox anytime, it’s special to see a gray fox here after so long, and it’s a reminder of good times and good hunting with a departed sporting friend. Isn’t it just great having round hay bales sitting in the field?

Posted June 26, 2012