Posted by: carolyn / through a widow's eyes | October 9, 2014

re: foxes

I’ve told this story before, at the time it happened, to anyone who would listen, but suddenly this fall I am seeing foxes about, and so are my friends, so maybe it is time to tell it again.

When Jeff was clearly preparing to die, his best-friend-for-decades Matt B. came to help out, and for one last week-long visit. When it came time for Matt to leave, we knew it was forever goodbyes, and that was such a hard thing. All of us were crying. There was so much love in the room!

Matt drove away, and drove to Portland Head Light to clear his head. He sat on a picnic table near the edge of the woods at dusk, nursing a coffee, weeping, thinking about the dear friend he would never see again, and thinking about the afterlife. Is there one? He thought, Show me a sign if there is.

At that exact moment, a fox strolled out of the underbrush, loped past the picnic table about fifteen feet away along the crest of the hill, unconcerned. It caught Matt’s gaze, and they stared into each others’ eyes for a long minute. Then the fox turned, and silently melted back into its woodsy domain.
Matt’s comment: “I’m not a greedy man; I’ll take it.”

Matt sent an email telling us this story. In particular, he wanted me to tell Jeff. Our daughter the scientist was 18 at the time. Her comment was: “That kind of thing happens a lot, doesn’t it?”
My reply was “Yes, it does. If you are paying attention. We probably miss a lot more than we catch, too.”
In Matt’s words: “We are all spirits in this world.”

Our friend Mel did some research on foxes after that, and sent along this excerpt from a website on spirit animals. “Intelligent, agile and charming, the fox became a symbol of wildness and diplomacy. Being a nocturnal creature, adept at maneuvering in the dark, and in the twilight hours of dawn & dusk, the fox entered myth and folklore as a messenger of the gods and as a communicator between souls of the living and the dead. The fox was the great go-between and intermediary. The ability of the Arctic fox to change its colouring with the seasons, brown in Spring & Summer, white in Fall & Winter, made it a familiar of shamans and medicine man and leant greater credence to the foxes’ reputation as a messenger between the conscious & unconscious worlds, the Spirit World and Reality.”

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