Fox Suggests the Terms of Cooperation
Fox appeared again a dusk or so ago, a small but maturing one at ease and obviously at home in her woods. This time there was a more calculated and involved interaction between us. In the past we'd come upon each other suddenly and fairly close, one time only five to six feet apart. At that time, fox froze in mid step and waited to see what I'd do. Another time at greater distance she had merely paused to assess my intentions before slowly sauntering off apparently without a concern in the world.
This evening fox stood facing the woods on the paved edge of the long upsloping driveway, ready to run if necessary. I was twenty yards down the driveway heading in her direction. I stopped upon seeing her. There was the now customary pause. What to do?
I acted first. I quickly squatted down and turned my head away, though was able to see her peripherally. Instantly, fox sat down on the driveway, still watching me. I was fairly astonished at her synchronized nonchalance. Was she getting comfortable and planning to outwait me? A second pause had now been introduced. This time fox acted first, walking directly toward me down the driveway. I couldn't have been more excited if I'd just won the lottery. What was fox doing? How close would she come? Should I be concerned about rabies?
About halfway to me, fox executes a sharp turn to her right and disappears into the trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses surrounding my cabin, a route she chose for some reason instead of the more woodsy one immediately available at her previous spot where I'd first seen her.
Now elated because of the further degree of innate trust fox has developed in me, I feel only the slightest bit of disappointment she didn't approach me and offer her head for a pat or two. I suppose being able to use the cat's flea comb I had in my pocket was too unrealistic to hope for also. Either would indeed feel like I'd won the lottery. I'd ecstatically settle someday for walking alongside fox a while in her sojourn.
Instead I'm happily settling for gradually learning the clever and sensible ways fox safely tests the limits of my humanity and intelligence and teaches me hers.