Friend or foe, Fox or friend

Often I listen to Talk Radio while running errands. The other day, the host was wondering how news reporters can watch someone in a dire situation and not rush to aid. For a photographer, if they stop, they will lose their shot. Of course, there are times you can’t help and you can only witness. I have read about many who picked up their camera afterward and continued. They saved the day but lost the moment.

This topic intrigued me. Turning the question around, asking what would I do? I’d like to think that I’d jump in to help but you won’t know till you are in the moment.The husband says, there are two types of people. Those that run towards an opportunity or away from a problem. However, there’s a third option, those that don’t react and do nothing.

Later in the day. Jess and I went apple picking with friends. It was a beautiful day to walk in the orchard. The trees were heavy with fruit and it was easy pickings. It didn’t take long to fill our bags with apples.

As we headed back, slowly meandering out, Jess was leading the way. She was about forty-two feet ahead of us ( I’m specific because I replayed this event in my mind. I’ve also walked enough courses for fences to know my stride.)

Just after the bend in the dirt road, I glanced up at Jess and my heart stopped. There was a Red Fox jumping at her feet! Jess had a small bottle of bubbles in her right hand and she was holding it high above her head as if she were playing keep away. The fox seemed interested in what she had and was dancing around her.

Instantly, I started running towards Jess yelling, “go, go, go…”. All I could do was make noise so the fox would move along. I sensed that Jess would want to reach down to pet him like she does when she is greeted by a dog. The thought that should could get bitten made me run faster.

Fox tend to keep their distance from people. To be approached could mean he was sick but this one looked healthy. My guess is he lives in the orchard and has become comfortable with humans, maybe had been released after rehabilitation.  Regardless, I reacted and didn’t think.

While I was alarmed, my friends were not. Was this because it wasn’t their child, or was it because they didn’t grow up on a farm? Their laid-back nature made me feel like a drama queen. (found out later that one didn’t see and the other caught a glimpse, so this explains)

We were a short walk back to the register (where we’d weigh and pay for the apples), Jess voiced her displeasure the whole way. Because I yelled, she thought she was in trouble and protested the unfairness all the way back to our car. She had been minding her own business, hadn’t done anything wrong, was not afraid of the fox and couldn’t understand why she had been wrongly accused.

Over and over I repeated why I was scared. I explained that whenever an animal shows unusual behavior, you need to be careful. It took us both awhile to calm down.

Earlier this summer, the husband saw a Black Bear walking through our backyard. I griefed him about not taking a photo. Now I get it. I understand how he felt. Even though the bear was just passing through, it was unusual to see and he went into protection mode.

It’s been a few days and I can still visualize the fox standing at Jess’s feet, his eyes turning to look at me before fox-trotting off. He did not understand why he was being yelled at. I’m sure he too felt he did nothing wrong. It’s human nature to fear what we don’t understand.

Not till I had shooed the fox did I say “damn, that would have been an awesome photo”.

It’s ironic, after raising the “what would I do” question that I was tested.

I guess the answer depends on what your element is. I may not have street smarts but have lived on farms, This is my comfort zone.

I love knowing that Jess is an animal whisperer. It’s one of her gifts. Animals sense that she will not harm. Dog, cats, and horses are drawn to her, so why not foxes? It’s all beginning to make perfect sense.

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