Thursday, June 18, 2009

Close Encounter

I have an unusual work schedule. Ten years ago I took a "baylor" position, a staffing initiative to cover weekend shifts. I work three 8 hour shifts, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Don't feel bad for me, I choose this schedule, I get paid very handsomely and I accrue all my benefits at a full time rate. This schedule allows me to spend a great deal of time doing the things I enjoy most, like walking!

I keep very busy during the four days I have off. For the past 10 years my day starts with a 9 mile walk. I leave the house every morning at about 5:20, regardless of the weather. Dawn, my time of day! I have the world to myself. I love the solitude, the stillness and the rising sun. I am at my best in the wee hours of the morning. I never wake up and suddenly find that spring has arrived. I watch the seasons edge up in subtleness. I watch the moon set and the sunrise and I take notice of everything around me on these morning walks. They are not an aerobic activity, they are strolls.

This morning I was running late, trying to calculate the risk for rain. I usually head straight to the Cathedral, or the Capital to watch the sun come up but today it was cloudy so I turned west on Summit just around 5:30. I was distracted and preoccupied with the recent images of Iran in my head, when suddenly I was startled by something running right in front of me. At first glance I thought it was a cat, an awfully big cat. On second glance, I realized it was a red fox and it was trotting right down the middle of Summit, maybe 10 feet in front of me. The fox stopped, turned around and squared me off, dropping prey from its mouth, a rabbit and a squirrel, right in the middle of the road. We were both frozen, my heart skipped a beat as I contemplated who would make the next move. I just stood there watching. Eventually the fox collected the rabbit and ran off between two houses, leaving the squirrel.

I spend a fair amount of time outside. We are members and frequent visitors at the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Florida. I have seen some of the best wildlife has to offer. I am not disturbed by the visual of the food chain. But this fox had me captivated, such an unexpected encounter. I have seen deer up on the hill, some unusual birds and even an owl on my early morning walks, but never a fox! It was a thrill for sure! An hour or so later, I went past the site where the fox left the squirrel - it was gone. I couldn't help but wonder if the fox returned to collect the prey.


Katrina said...

Wow... that sounds amazing! I love mornings, too. There is something almost sacred about that time of day.

sweetpea said...

Oh Katrina, you are so right about the sacredness of the early morning! I live in a completely urban area which is why it was such an unusual sighting!