'Fox Gourd', by Nina Haglund - final project for my
Myth & Symbol class at Clark U.
Mornings in the forest are usually very quiet. Gentle birdsongs, tree frogs, an occasional raucous raven and the late summer hum of crickets. The really loud creature neighbors are the night visitors - coyotes in the wee hours before light, the barred owls howling like monkeys while hunting in the clearing, right outside my window. If loud sounds pierce the morning, everyone notices. I want to share this story before it slips away.... a story of two very loud forest mornings, a few mornings ago...
A warm May morning, Pasha was using me as a trampoline on his jump from window sill to floor, letting me know - in his not so subtle way - that he was anxious to go out. On these mornings when the forest is calling him so fiercely, every rug in the bedroom is askew and I laugh at his wild stares and loud thumping paws on wood floor. He can make himself sound a lot heavier on these mornings as he lands, hard and loud, at the foot of the bed. A bit earlier than usual, I circled down the spiral staircase to let him out. On the doorstep, his ears perked and his body listened- alert. He trotted off, clearly knowing there was something of interest to pursue. A few moments later, while making my tea, I heard wild screams and cries from the direction he had just traveled. Instinct told me it was foxes, not Pasha, but one never knows. I slipped on clogs and dashed out the door calling, the cries and shrieks still piercingly intense. He came running out of the woods, wide eyed and wondering, and we stood for a moment listening. As the cries died down, shrieking crows gathered in the trees and a barred owl joined in from deeper in the wood. I took my tea to the moss garden with Pasha, welcoming the warm sun. A bit quieter now, save occasional bursts of crows and dark-winged shadows flying by on the moss and over my toes. Pasha settled down at the foot of a hemlock, a usual spot for stalking shrews in the morning. Suddenly black wings swooped onto a branch above him and began shrieking down at him. Another joined, the first flew away, then back again flying aggressively at the remaining crow. They flew off, darting this way and that and at each other - black wings, wild screams and impossible swoops between trees...
The following morning, while upstairs at my desk, I heard a quiet bark, then the cries of crows and the whooshing of wings past my window. Looking out into the moss garden, I saw a very scared looking red fox hugging the hemlock hedge. Several large crows were overhead, swooping down and shrieking at her. Her look was one of utter helplessness, frozen there at the edge. I went downstairs for the camera and opened the front door for Pasha who came in in a flash. The fox stayed a bit longer, but then darted into the trees, staying close to big trunks and slinking near to the ground. Her usual silent journey through the forest mapped by loud crows until she was quite far off.... I wonder how she might have offended those crows, did she travel through their nesting ground, or was she guilty just for being a fox....?
The little red dashing fox...
do you see her - a small bit of red- in the center of the photo?
If you're brave, you can visit this site to hear the sound of fighting foxes...
scroll down a bit to where it says "gray fox fight-(Loud) gray foxes
fighting visciously..." can't link you closer than that. I think what I heard were red foxes fighting, but it sounded much like this - quite intense on a warm spring morning.
On a final note, Pasha is feeling pleased with himself today as his photo-
and the view from a couple of my windows - is posted on the blog of the
wonderful mythic artist/writer, Terri Windling. Check out her posts on "The View from Your Window", and see lovely views from all over the world - and the handsome Pasha cat!
And, because they are so lovely, here's another of my student, Nina Haglund's final project. This one is the "Bear Gourd", if you couldn't guess. The final projects from this semester's Myth & Symbol class were so wonderful,I'll be sharing some little by little.
(OK... sometimes the spacing does whatever it wants on my posts... so, there you have it... I give up!)