Thursday, March 27, 2008

I saw a fox . . .

This morning, en route to my AM life at Dunwoody Nature Center, I rounded the corner just in time to see a beautiful fox trotting across the street. She was burnt sienna in color, with a golden tail. She stopped in the middle of the street and looked back at the yard behind her. Then I saw her pup. It stumbled forward onto its nose, recovered, and danced behind its mother. As soon as it got closer, she continued across the street, checking me constantly to make sure I wasn't moving.

I could almost hear her, "No dawdling, dear. And you should never cross a street like this without me. Look both ways!"

Now, this isn't a rural community. No, indeed. Dunwoody is carefully balanced between suburban and urban, though we do have a lot of beautiful ravines, creeks, streams, and a scant few carefully preserved natural areas. But, thanks to the nearby Chattahoochee River and the sheer determination of the wildlife, we see coyotes, foxes, opposum, deer, rabbits, hawks, and even the occasional black bear. They stroll through Dunwoody, sniffing their noses at the encroachers on their dominion.

We once had foxes at the Nature Center. While they were here, our chipmunk population declined and the hawks moved on. Now we're teeming with hawks, and the foxes are denning elsewhere. That's the natural way of wildlife in an urban setting. There isn't enough prey to go around, so only one predator population can exist in the same habitat.

The fox and her pup were beautiful. They brightened my morning.

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