Every Monday morning Chewonki faculty and staff gather in the whale room for Monday Morning Meeting. Program updates are shared and farm and other news is offered. When Greg Shute is facilitating he is likely to ask at the end of the meeting “any nature notes?”
Here is one that I thought worthy of writing down:
I drive to the Neck most days in the early morning darkness. The morning after the recent blizzard, or bombogenesis, was no exception. The drive was slow going as the roads were still covered in the light, dry snow. As I approached the long curve, you know the one that gently leads to the Chewonki Campground, I noticed a skinny young fox standing atop the tall snow bank, left by many swipes of the plow.
I slowed to nearly a stop, to watch him, my headlights the perfect spotlight, and we stayed like that for a second taking each other in, me in wonder, him in terror. Then he started to run, following the curve and trying again and again to deviate into the fresh powdery snow of the field that leads to the campground buildings. Over and over he was foiled by the depth of the snow and returned to the crusty top of the snow bank. Running, leaping into the field then back up to the bank, up and down and even into the salty road, while I followed with my lights trained right on him. Finally he reached the opening of the camp driveway where he dashed, quick as a wink and tucked under an out-building.
If only he knew how he made me smile and that there was no danger from me, only from the bitter cold of this winter. If only he knew the joy he had inspired on an otherwise dreary morning. I imagined that he had a safe burrow under that shed, lined with fur and leaves, and that his early morning hunt yielded sufficient mouse or squirrel.