In fact, I toyed with calling this post Eat, Prey, Love. But since the What Does the Fox Say song has been running through my mind for two weeks now, (and isn’t that a dubious substitute for, say, prayer?) I ran with it.
Our back yard hasn’t been Wild Kingdom for the entire 22 years we’ve lived in this house, but it has been quite active for the past 10 years or so. We regularly see hawks circling, raccoons have been known to prowl around at night, and there are coyote warning signs in every park within a 20 block radius. And we live in an established neighborhood right in Denver! Crazy. At least there are no rattlesnakes to be found as there are in newer outlying suburban neighborhoods.
But our major wildlife attraction is the group of foxes who think our back yard is their playground (and I have learned that a group of foxes is called a “skulk.”) Almost daily we find some sort of a doggy toy that they have swiped from a yard in which a dog lives (“Stop swiping Swiper.” Sorry, an unforgiveable Dora the Explorer reference – inevitable when you have young grandkids.)
As of late, however, it has morphed from playground to a Fox Buffet Restaurant, offering such delicious goodies as bunny rabbits, squirrels, mice, and crows. Nearly every morning when I arise at 5:30 or so, I look out my bathroom window into the back yard only to see one, two or (yesterday morning) three foxes with some sort of dead or nearly-dead animal in their mouth, shaking it vigorously back and forth. Pleasant start to a day.
And yet, interestingly, at the same time that the foxes are turning squirrels into smoothies in the back of our yard, there are squirrels trying to figure out how to access the bird seed in the feeder in the front of the yard. I try to remind myself of two things: 1) this is nature; and 2) squirrels’ brains are the size of a walnut so they aren’t exactly quantum physicists. Still, bunnies are smart enough to stay out of our yard. Just sayin’…..
I’m frankly happy to see the foxes again this year, as they have made themselves rather scarce the last couple of summers. Two summers ago, on a bright Sunday morning, I glanced out my bathroom window as I was getting ready for church. I saw something lying in the back corner of the yard.
“Bill, come look,” I said. He couldn’t figure out what it was, so as soon as he got dressed, he went to check it out. I watched from the window. I saw him walk back to the area, stop dead in his tracks, and turn around and head back.
“Well,” he told me when he returned to the bedroom. “That is a dead fox. In two pieces. A body and a head. What more could a homeowner ask for on a Sunday morning?.”
So we proceeded (and when I say we, I mean Bill) to scoop the carcass into a garbage bag, call the city for a pickup, and move it to the side of the house where the people who have jobs I wouldn’t want to have could pick it up.
We decided that was the summer that spoils went to the coyotes.
So while I could live forever without Eat, Prey, Love, at least the foxes are extraordinarily pretty. And at least they aren’t coyotes. And since I believe in the natural order of things, I’m going to presume that at this point in time at least, the coyotes are murdering foxes elsewhere. And, as Martha Stewart (who never saw a fox shake a bunny to its death in her life) would say, “That’s a good thing.”