I looked up from my work at the trimming wheel yesterday just in time to
see a fox running across the frozen lake. For sure it was a fox. It was
too low to the ground to be a coyote and far too fast to be a muskrat
Even from my vantage point on a distant shore,
though I couldn't make out any details of color or anatomy, I still
sensed an urgency to his gait. He was in a hurry and he was going
I was immediately more unsettled than amused. Why
would a fox be running across the lake in the middle of the day? Was he
running to or from something? He was dead center to the lake --
equidistant -- quite distant -- from the safety of any shore. And sure,
he was small, agile, and light, but the ice was not only thin in some
places -- some of the lake wasn't even yet frozen.
What if he was running from some danger and the lake was his only -- and equally dangerous -- option?
even if he had just set out into the unknown to forage, it was just as
likely he was leaving slim pickins behind for even slimmer.
started to try to imagine a narrative that might comfort me. Maybe I had
looked up just in time to see him returning from mid-lake rather than
crossing it. That helped some. If that was the case, most of the
imagined fears and dangers of thin ice and unknown territory would be
ameliorated. Maybe the fox was returning home.
Or maybe I was
simply projecting. It's the beginning of the year. There's a lake to
cross. I don't know what's on the other side. I don't know where the
good ice is -- or if it is. And I'm running like mad. Like a fox on the