The Red Fox – A fabulous forest-lurker, neighbour, and totem animal.

Fox hunting for voles and mice.

Our backyard is a special place because of the abundance of wildlife in our neck of the woods. I am extremely fortunate to witness a diversity of animal/bird species who wander through on a regular basis.

One of my favourite visitors is the lovely Red Fox, (Vulpes vulpes).

These solitary hunters are intelligent, opportunistic omnivores, about the size of a small to mid-sized dog, and they rather remind me of a cat because of the way they play with their food, tossing the soon to be meal, (voles & other rodents) in the air with abandon, just before ending this celebration to seriously chow down on their catch.

Like many of us humans, the red fox prefers a diverse habitat! For them, that includes farm fields, forests, the edge of thickets, and even urban settings, where like the racoon they also thrive. From my experience in a rural setting, they hunt in and out of these habitats, which describes our backyard, and is likely why I see them so often.

The adult red fox has a year-round coat of red that is absolutely striking to see in the winter, as you can see it here in contrast with snow.

Yes, there are some people who find satisfaction by wearing these beauties on their own backs. I’m not one of them and prefer to see the animal alive and well, in its own coat. Luckily, I don’t yet carry tomatoes & won’t pelt, (pardon the pun) fur wearing folk. However, I will offer an unequivical icy glare and judge you in a negative light. But, I digress…

Fox with mange.

Foxes are shy animals. They’re mainly nocturnal, but occasionally one will see these non-aggressive creatures during the day. If you see a fox during the day, it doesn’t mean that they are diseased with rabies or mange, though that can be the case. It more likely it means food may be more available for them during daylight hours in their respective environment.

If you’re interested in animal lore and totem animals like I am, there is a phenomenal amount of information available, making the fox an interesting subject to read about in many folkloric and mythic tales.

Consider the term “to outfox“, which means “to beat in a competition of wits”, similarly to “outguess”, “outsmart”, and “outwit”.  If you consider Aesop’s Fables from classical antiquity to Beatrix Potter‘s anthropomorpic stories, there are numerous stories involving a fox in popular culture throughout history.

Fox focus

Within the spiritual realm, they’re considered figures of cunning or trickery, or as a familiar animal possessed of magic powers and transformation.

As for having the lovely fox as a totem animal, it suits me well.

According to many who’ve interpreted the fox as a totem animal messanger, a fox will communicate its presence in order to offer the advice that you should think outside of the box. They also show us how to focus on our goals, and to use our creativity in our approach to current circumstances.

My feeling is that the fox encourages us to be aware of our own habits, (good or bad), adapt to our environment using all of our resources, and that we should refrain from certain distractions that may lead us off course when we want to realize a goal.

In any case, the Red Fox is a wonderful creature and participant in the planet’s food chain. They’re an animal that deserves our respect, and it is a real gift to see them in nature.

 

Butterflies flutter by… musings on these remarkable creatures

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore

“Metamorphosis has always been the greatest symbol of change for poets and artists. Imagine that you could be a caterpillar one moment and a butterfly the next.” ~ Louie Schwartzberg

And, one more quote to offer.. my personal favourite because as a child, I thought butterflies were floating flowers.

“Butterflies… flowers that fly and all but sing.” ~ Robert Frost

There have been times in my life where I’ve felt I may have been trapped in a cocoon.  Many of you may have felt like this, too. Some times this may have been self-imposed, and other times it may have been situations or circumstances beyond our control.

One thing I’ve learned to do during times like these is to call on the spirit of the butterfly.

They emerge from their original caterpillar state, through that cocoon and towards one glorious transformation! Maybe that’s why these creatures fascinate us so.

Perhaps it’s because we humans learn, grow and evolve as we go along, not unlike this marvelous creature. In any case, I feel all animals on this planet offer lessons to teach if we take the time to listen.

 

In appreciation of spring – poets and portals

The beginning of T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Waste Land,” opens with “April is the cruellest month…”

Truly, I couldn’t agree more with this assessment.

Here in Ontario, we’ve sampled just about the worst role of every season during this one month alone. April’s weather forecasts were not on their best behaviour, offering only a few days taste of the tantalizing weather yet to come.

In my neck of the woods, the temps dropped overnight and it actually snowed. Thankfully a light dusting was all we received and most has now dissipated.

In any case, most poems about spring are uplifting,  giving us hope for rejuvenation and renewal in our own lives and our gardens. These written words are like doors opening to better times ahead… an optimistic tête-à-tête, or a literary sightseeing adventure, taking us from death towards the newness and rebirth of spring.

These portals are waiting to be cracked opened by the reader. It seems that doors and books have much in common! One may encounter something entirely more pleasant on the other side if the door handle is turned or the cover flipped.

With that in mind, I stumbled upon (a snippet of) a poem like that only this morning while perusing Pinterest.

Intrigued, I tracked down the rest, enjoying the lovely imagery offered, that in my mind sum up the best parts of spring!


“April Weather” by Lizette Woodworth Reese 

From – A Handful of Lavender (1891)

Oh, hush, my heart, and take thine ease,

For here is April weather!

The daffodils beneath the trees

Are all a-row together.

 

The thrush is back with his old note;

The scarlet tulip is blowing;

And white – ay, white as my love’s throat –

The dogwood boughs are growing.

 

The lilac bush is sweet again;

Down every wind that passes,

Fly flakes from hedgerow and from lane;

The bees are in the grasses.

 

A Grief goes out, and Joy comes in,

And Care us but a feather;

And every lad his love can win,

For here is April weather.


Links with further reading and information about the author: