I have lived in this house for nearly 12 years and haven't ever seen a fox like that, yet other locals are now telling me how often they have seen the rare silver fox. Just when I think I know a place, know the inhabitants, I am confronted with something new to me that has actually been around for quite some time. I just hadn't been aware of it.
(photo taken from Google search)
Seeing the silver fox affected me in a way I find difficult to explain. Eye-to-eye, he shuffled sideways toward the road before darting away from me. I stared after him for a few minutes and wondered where he was headed and where he had been. I wondered why I hadn't ever noticed him before in all the years I have lived in the mountains.
There are many times in my life where I realize I have lived unconsciously, going from place to place, going through the motions of a routine, without noticing the environment around me. For example, although my husband died at the end of May, 2005, I was so focussed on getting my kids healthy and making sure they survived the trauma of his death, that I didn't unravel until a few years later. I barely remember 2008. Seriously, I cannot remember that year and am sure I didn't do much beyond surviving each day. Coming out of that period has been like waking up from a long, dreamless sleep. It's as if I had been in a coma of sorts. Now everything is much more vivid than I ever recall.
In our busy lives it is easy to stop noticing the environment around us. We move to the rhythm of our routines, put on "city blinders" when in a crowd, immerse ourselves in our own dramas and forget to notice what moves in our peripheral vision. But often what is on the peripheral is worth noticing; the peripheral often contains something magical and unique.
I am glad I finally met Mr. Silver Fox. Not only was he beautiful, but he woke me up. We all need to look around us more and embrace our daily lives from a new perspective, from a perspective of wonder as if seeing it all for the first time. Who knows what we will find when we deviate from our routine just a bit, let our eyes meet a strangers' in a crowd, or take a minute to simply enjoy the sunrise?
I hope I see that fox again. But if I don't, then I am thankful for our stare down a few weeks ago. Sometimes just one moment can have profound impact. Eyes wide open, I will look around for him and whatever other interesting creatures or experiences wait for me in the every day. I am awake at last.