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 (the greenbelt mentioned is approximately 4 miles long in this particular area behind my house), back onto our part of a greenbelt. That word Greenbelt is just my city's way of saying that you are in actuality, 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 of our yards and areas in the entire city most of the time year long.
I have deer coming up to the chain link fence in the back of my yard and usually, they vault over the fence and right into the yard. I see them frequently. And they haven't eaten nor have they destroyed anything in my yard to this point. Well, what's a few flowers?
I have been priveleged to see the fox, the deer that remain constant visitors, the usual assortment of raccoons, o'possums, 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, our 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 everywhere and read reports of vehicle accidents in the area of the Police Station for example and any where else in town if the resident forgets to be vigilant. It is the proximity of all the greenbelts that shelter them that bring them out. Once a year there is a deer hunt that is sponsored by a civic organization. The deer hunt does not take place in the City of course, but outside of city limits, and the purpose is to thin the deer population. The number of deer harvested is generally five hundred or thereabouts.
I live about seven miles from work, and when coming home or driving to work, or anywhere else for that matter, 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 frequently, 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 fartherest points. There, on the workplace, 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, by the way, getting back to my house is up in the air perhaps 6 or 7 feet from the ground on the lower side and 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 there at twilight and on into 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 round. The crickets and frogs singing add to the music. The scurry of chipmunks, the green scent of all the towering trees around me better than any fragrance sold. 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 neighbor's 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 and I have put out the deck furniture, the table's umbrella, and I am ready to set a tall glass of tea on it and compose myself to hear the sounds of wild things.