After spending all afternoon frustrating myself with math practice for the GRE, which I’m taking in two weeks, I took a break to have dinner and watch a movie with some of my coworkers. (The movie was Stand By Me, which I’d never seen before, and it was excellent.)
Around eight thirty I found myself walking by myself back up the long gravel driveway through the woods to the raptor center. It was raining again, and I had the hood of my jacket pulled around my face. As I plodded along lost in thoughts of Life, the Universe, and Everything, a flash of movement ahead caught my eye.
A red fox darted across the road, ran along the edge for a moment, its color vivid in the increasing twilight, and then disappeared back into the forest.
For several seconds after it was gone I remained standing perfectly still in the middle of the drive, not breathing, staring at the place where it had been with my mouth literally hanging open in surprise. A gibbous moon shone through a break in the clouds overhead. The only sound was raindrops hitting the leaves all around me. Finally I snapped out of it and continued back to the quiet house.
While I knew, in an academic sort of way, that there were foxes on the property, this was the first time in more than three months of spending hours a day on these trails that I’d actually seen one. It was a lovely reminder that the cool things I observe in these woods every day are only the tiniest fraction of all that goes on here. I don’t think its possible for anyone who has woods to walk in to ever really get bored.