Spring is the time for a renewal of life, my life, the wild life in the skies and woods, the flowers and the earth. It is a time to embrace change because ready or not, change will find you. We are along for the ride, unable in our desperate attempt for control to regulate the seasons or even our own lives.
One of the first gifts that this spring of 2015 has brought me is a visit by a family of fox. They appeared last year but this spring they are staying for several months. I have found myself to be a voyeur into the birth of five little kits and the care given by both their mother and father. The babies were kept safely in a den, formed from an overturned tree stump, the red clay marking the spot where they ran in and out of the entrance like little puppies, playing, chasing and being a pest to the mother. My back yard became her sanctuary, an open spot for her to get some relief from the demanding brood that could not jump the fence to join her. She would not let me go up to her of course, but she would let me watch her from at least forty feet away. Friends heard me talk about her and were amazed when they too saw her from the dog training building. They also marveled at her beautiful gold-auburn coat and long bushy tail as she stalked squirrels. Over time I had a morning ritual, where I’d look over the chain link fence, waiting to see her in the tangled, overgrown woods as she took care of the kits. I compared notes with other neighbors and learned that there is a male fox who is bigger, darker, an efficient killing machine. He has no time to sit in the yard and relax like the female. He is always on the move, working tirelessly to feed himself and his family.
Why was the female fox appearing now at this time in my life? I had to stop and ponder over and over as the beautiful wild animal graced my back yard each day. Why was her presence now so pronounced? Last week again and again I’d look out the sun room windows and see her resting by one of the Lodge Pole Pines, facing the house, a ray of sunlight spilling onto her coat at just the right time, highlighting her presence, her spirit. It was appropriate that she appeared this way early the morning of Mother’s Day, fully a celebration to motherhood. I looked out the window a few moments later but she was gone. Shortly after, I heard the sound of a single gunshot break the serene morning. Lady Fox has not appeared again and I mourn her possible loss. Yet is that her in the back yard still, keeping further away or is it yet a third adult fox? Until I can compare notes with the surrounding neighbors who also follow the red family of fox I won’t know for sure. The reality that she may be gone haunts me.
Was the close presence of the fox a sign that the animal is my totem or animal guide? I searched the Internet and found information from the Manataka American Indian Council website. Was she a Messenger Animal, a Shadow Animal, a Journal Animal or a Life Animal Guide? Today I read each description and believe she is my Messenger Animal:
A Messenger Guide quickly comes into your life and then leaves once a message is understood. The time a Message Guide stays in your psychic is relative to you seeing and accepting the message. The message itself can be spiritual in nature, or it can be a warning. The message may deal with a seemingly mundane aspect of your life or it may be a wake-up call for some important action you must make. Sometimes the animal messenger will come during an unusual event and make a powerful statement and others come on the wind as a whisper. A messenger guide can cause you delays or some unforeseen help in your life. They can be both negative and positive in nature for they are totally impartial. www.manataka.org
I chose to believe that she was a Messenger Spirit preparing me for my old dog’s imminent death. When she disappeared forever from the morning’s light under the pine tree Levi soon left this world. It is spring and a time for loss along with renewal. Life goes on and she helped me realize that we all are in a process of being born, living and then returning to the earth. I feel a better sense of acceptance now.
Another change for me this spring is an awareness of the birds that swarm around the back yard. I put up three bird feeders. To date I only know two easy to identify birds, the Mockingbird, with its white and gray feathers and of course, the red Cardinals. But this morning I looked through the binoculars and saw an orange beaked bird with a dark orange breast and brown under body. Florida attracts numerous birds that sing loudly all day. Their care will give me hours of beauty and education.
A local landscaper planted Knockout Roses along the front of my house as well as a Winged Elm. The Elm really does seem to have wings, very strange. But at the same time a dying old Magnolia tree was cut down. It’s branches had been littering the front yard for the last few years. Sure enough when the trunk was cut there was a core of decay in the middle. Had it not been cut down it may have collapsed in a storm and hit the house. It was time for it to go back to the earth in the form of mulch.
Spring is quickly rolling into summer. The neighbor’s corn is growing fast. The growing season arrives early here, something I have yet to catch in time to put in a garden. I’m still used to either the Oregon growing season or that of New England where I grew up. I keep saying next year I’ll have a garden but how many springs are left for me? I hope there are many more so that I have time to learn, interact and revel in the beauty of nature as the seasons pass.