If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you already know that taking a long walk with my dogs at Lee Martinez Park is one of my favorite things. Before we got dogs, when Eric and I would take walks together, we spent a lot of time talking about how great it was going to be once we had dogs (and we always intended to have more than one). We were totally right. It’s the best.
One of my favorite parts of the walk is all the other animals we see. This morning, we saw a turtle sitting on a log floating in the middle of the river. We also saw a heron sitting high in a tree over the same stretch of water. Sadly, we also saw a dead Mountain Bluebird.
There’s a den of baby foxes along our regular route, and this morning the bravest of them all had a duck carcass that he was quite proud of.
When there are kits, Dexter insists on checking on them every walk. Even if they aren’t out, he wants to sit and watch the den, has to be pulled away from it.
This Sunday was such a different day than just one week ago, when Dexter was so sick and weak and didn’t want to eat. I spend each day immediately after something like that being thankful for another day, a day when no one is suffering, noticing the bravest of the kits, laughing at how he prances with a duck hanging from his mouth, too young to be quite sure what he’s even supposed to do with it.
Straight Talk From Fox
by Mary Oliver
Listen says fox it is music to run
over the hills to lick
dew from the leaves to nose along
the edges of the ponds to smell the fat
ducks in their bright feathers but
far out, safe in their rafts of
sleep. It is like
music to visit the orchard, to find
the vole sucking the sweet of the apple, or the
rabbit with his fast-beating heart. Death itself
is a music. Nobody has ever come close to
writing it down, awake or in a dream. It cannot
be told. It is flesh and bones
changing shape and with good cause, mercy
is a little child beside such an invention. It is
music to wander the black back roads
outside of town no one awake or wondering
if anything miraculous is ever going to
happen, totally dumb to the fact of every
moment’s miracle. Don’t think I haven’t
peeked into windows. I see you in all your seasons
making love, arguing, talking about God
as if he were an idea instead of the grass,
instead of the stars, the rabbit caught
in one good teeth-whacking hit and brought
home to the den. What I am, and I know it, is
responsible, joyful, thankful. I would not
give my life for a thousand of yours.
What is so magic about walking, being outside in the raw, real world is it reminds me that life is a cycle of seasons, of birth and death, of waxing and waning, hibernation and blooming. It helps me to not feel so anxious about the way things work–impermanence, mortality, the nature of change. The sun rises every morning, the flowers bloom again each Spring, and there are still baby foxes, learning how to feed themselves, how to be foxes. I can live in that world, even as it continues to break my heart.