A few weeks ago, I was standing by my deck door. Through the vertical blinds, I noticed the security lights come on at the far left side of the house.
I opened the door and saw the reason. A gray fox. The first one I have been fortunate enough to see here in the yard. It was glorious; all sleek and shining.
In my city, which was carved out of a forest, there are public and privately owned greenbelts as they are commonly called here. I happen to own a home that is situated right on and in a greenbelt. All of our homes on this street (which, by the way, is approximately 4 miles long), back onto our part of a greenbelt. That is just my city's way of saying that you are living on the edge of a forest.
The City has done a magnificent job of maintaining the Public wooded areas through out the town with preservation a priority. And with the greenbelts, public or private, come wonderous and beautiful surprises every day.
The fox I saw was just one of many creatures that visit all our yards and areas in the entire city most of the time.
I have deer coming up to the chain link fence in back and usually, they vault over the fence right into the yard. I see them frequently. And they haven't eaten nor have they destroyed anything in my yard to this point.
I have been priveleged to see the fox, the deer that remain constant visitors, the usual assortment of raccoons, opossums, coyotes and since the re-introduction of red wolves, (who have migrated from the National Park very near by), I have seen a wolf as well. Sitting on my neighbor's screened in porch just at twilight last summer we had our first and so far, only personal sighting.
This town is covered up with deer. There is no getting away from them. You must watch for them on the streets as they are out in places you would not necessarily think they would go. They have no particular crossing point. They roam where they please and when they please. Up to and including downtown. I have seen them and read reports of vehicle accidents in the area of the Police Station for example. It is the proximity of all the greenbelts that shelter them that bring them out.
I live about seven miles from work and when coming home or driving to work, I travel carefully as I never know when I will be surprised by another brave hearted deer crossing right in front of me. There are some heavy shrubs here and there along the street I live on. I see holes worn through those shrubs and bushes and deer just leaving the entrance of the holes they have made. So I have an idea of some of the more popular places they cross in my immediate neighborhood.
Where I work is situated in the city, yet at one of its farthermost points. There I have seen all the animals I just mentioned and Elk as well. You read correctly. Elk. They were introduced into the area several years ago and as they are protected from hunters, they have flourished. They haven't breached the town nor do I think they ever will. They are and will remain less seemingly domesticated than the deer population.
My deck is up perhaps 6 or 7 feet from the ground and there I have a good vantage point.
At twilight, in the Spring and Summer my delight is amplified many fold.
There is not much greater pleasure to me than sitting out at twilight and in the evening by myself or with a friend, talking quietly, with the good company of clouds of lightening bugs flashing their greenish/gold light all around. The crickets and frogs singing add to the music. The scurry of chipmunks, the green scent of all the towering trees around me. I know the rustle of the trees and brush well, as a deer is approaches the salt lick my neighbor supplies them. The snarl of raccoons fighting over my neighbors thrown into the woods dog food is a discordant but natural note in the symphony that plays just for us while the warmth of the evening slowly our melts the ice in our tea. The stars so clear but shrouded from the telescope by the canopies of the trees.
The feeling of peace is almost surreal.
I am anticipating the turn of the season in a month and I can put out the deck furniture, the table's umbrella, set a tall glass of tea on it and compose myself to hear the sounds of wild things.