Friday, June 20, 2008

Mammals in the Twilight

Last light just about sunset I was in the backyard puttering around. I love to go out at that time of the day and enjoy the cool air and the stillness. Walking back up to the house I realized that my friendly neighborhood skunk was standing right in front of me. He isn't very big, about the size of a large house cat. He has a very distinct tail that is actually quite lovely as long as it is pointing away from you. :)

He saw me coming and ran under the deck and I ran up the back stairs.

I called to my husband to tell him that the skunk was in the yard and asked if our cats were inside. One cat was in and one cat was out so I stepped back onto the deck to call Cocoa. She usually comes when I call her at bedtime but there was no sight of her.

My husband joined me on the deck and we stood for a minute looking out over the backyard waiting for the cat to decide to join us. As we stood there, we saw something amazing and new to our yard. We knew right away it was a fox! I think it was this kind: Red Fox.

"The red fox is so clever that it has been able, in many parts of our country, to maintain itself despite dogs and men."
Handbook of Nature Study, page 253

There is a whole section on red foxes in the HNS starting on page 251. I am going to read it today and see what I can learn about this creature. The skunk has a section in the Handbook starting on page 245.

We really do live in a fantastic spot for wildlife. We seem to have all sorts of creatures right under our noses and never realize it until we slow down and really look for them. I don't know if I really want a fox in my yard every night but last night I felt so blessed by his appearance.

We sat on the deck late into the evening discussing the events we had just experienced. The familiar skunk and the rare fox had touched both of us; the variety of life we have all around us was remarkable. Shortly after seeing the fox, the bats began circling around the yard having their evening meal.

Skunk, fox, bat, and then the curious cat all kept us company.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

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