--- This dispatch is from my wife, Marie Jackson.
Something caught my eye last Sunday morning as I was sitting at the computer; a slow movement in the parking space facing our house. Spring Street is very narrow, with no sidewalk on either side, and that parking space is an unpaved patch, just off the road, ringed on one side with a neat fence and on the other two with vegetation. Behind it is an overgrowth, a combination of two unkempt, sprawling backyards, certainly not woods, or a wildlife reservation. Cats maraud there from time to time. It’s also home to a pair of cardinals and a cacophony of sparrows, and at ground level, bunnies and occasionally a possum. This was not one of the regulars.
My daughter, 9, was in the next room, sprawled on the sofa beside the window. Maybe it was the unusual calm in my voice that caught her attention.
“Look out the window, now, really slowly, at the fox.”
First he stood there, watching us watching him. Maybe he was admiring his reflection in the window, and was unaware of us. He sat down as if he was posing for a studio portrait. He was fantastic. Jayla leapt to grab the camera and capture it. The fox rose, looked over his shoulder, and waited just until she tried to get the shot. In the digital time delay between pressing the button and capturing the image, he was gone, swallowed up by the ferns, poison ivy, sumac and New England asters.
I have long ago given up trying to pin down magic moments on film, pixels or whatever. Experience has taught me that excitement and wonder and awe turn to bitter disappointment when I introduce my camera into a wildlife sighting. I comforted Jayla with the thought that we’d probably see him again.
Later in the week, at twilight, the fox reappeared, but seemed smaller than before. This time, there was a distinct russet showing beneath the grey on the breast. Yesterday my husband saw it and today, it is not even slinking when it walks along the empty street and down our neighbors back steps. It suddenly pops out through a hedge near the top of the hill, greyer and taller than a minute ago. You know what? I think there are two of them!
Welcome to the new family in the neighborhood.