I like to refer to the exceptionally memorable moments as “shiny” and it was always a shiny moment when a new animal visited our farm. There was the summer that the moose lived in the field next door. When we woke up each morning we ran to the window to see if he was still there – I caught my breath every time I saw him.
It was the same experience when kittens would all of a sudden appear in the tall grass under old machinery. The first time it happened I was positively gleeful! Or the time that two deer came right into the front yard and ate grass for a while. As kids we whispered to each other and watched as long as we could.
When I was quite young my dad came home and told me the story of Mrs. Fox. He had seen Mrs. Fox in one of our fields north of the house and he said she lived in a den and had babies.
I was fascinated. I could just imagine Mrs. Fox, her babies, and their den and I wanted to see them.
Dad and his friend Jim went out on a crop tour not long after that and they took me along, telling me that we were going out to look for Mrs. Fox’s den and to get a look at her. I thought it would be easy and that they knew where we were going. I didn’t quite understand why we didn’t just drive right up to her den and say hello.
They told me we were getting very close to Mrs. Fox and that’s when the truck stopped moving. I remember that it broke down but Dad says it got stuck in the mud and I believe him.
There we were, about a mile from home in the warm sun and we had to walk home. It seemed like forever because I had tiny little legs. I whined about the walk, got carried for a while, and cried that we didn’t get to see Mrs. Fox.
That adventure has flashed in my head many times over the years and it came up again last weekend.
I was visiting the family farm and Dad took me on a tour. We hopped on the farm’s golf cart and headed out on the edge of a field to look at all the new trees he had planted. The sun dipped low in the sky, the branches of the trees waved as we drove by, and the wind whipped through our hair.
We chatted about the trees and about life and all of a sudden I nearly stood up on the cart.
“Dad,” I shouted. “Look! It’s a fox!”
Just like that the creature shot into a wheat field about a half-mile from the house and it vanished.
Here we were cruising quickly on a cart very near the trail we walked when our truck got stuck so many years ago.
And there she was to greet us. Sorry we were so late Mrs. Fox. It was good to see you.