Monday, June 22, 2009
How we saw the fox
This past week and for nearly every week until the end of July, I will be spending my Thursdays walking in the woods with a too-large bunch of varying kids to hopefully help them connect with nature. Heaven knows, if the first batch is any indication, they need it. This past Thursday we saw lots of .25 inch tree frogs, regular frogs, assorted toads, a few water snakes, lots of butterflies and an assortment of bugs, most of which I couldn’t identify. We also got to taste a few wild raspberries and suck the honey out of honeysuckle.
The kids are enthusiastic enough, as long as they can see something they deem exciting. Hearing birds is not exciting, in their minds, no matter how uncommon the species. Finding a teeny, tiny bright green bug that I have no idea what it was qualifies as sort-of exciting, at least to the kid finding it. Eating almost ripe raspberries was a pretty big deal, as was the honey suckle. Catching and holding a frog or a toad is a huge deal. If they couldn’t see it or touch it, they weren’t interested. And boy, we’d better see or tough something almost every few minutes or they were soon bored. Fortunately, seeing the fox was pretty exciting, even to teenagers.
How we saw the fox was pretty impressive, even to me, who sees and hears the local foxes regularly. Here’s how it happened. I was trying to convince the kids that when you’re walking in the woods, even on a trail, it’s important to regularly look behind you, especially when you come to a trail intersection, because things look different from the opposite direction. We’d just come to a T in the woods road and turned left. After walking another 15-20 feet, I made the kids stop and look behind them. They’d all just stopped and (amazingly) were all looking towards where the now-obscured trail intersection was when a fox trotted across the trail about 50 yards up the road. They all got to see it, which was pretty amazing since trying to herd teenagers and get them to do the same thing at the same time wasn’t something I managed most of the time. But that time it all worked out, and everyone saw the fox, and they thought it was pretty cool. I didn't get a photo, though--happened too fax
The weather has been extreme here on Roundtop and across much of the rest of the country, too. The sky is still unsettled and stormy-looking. Apparently, I’m soon to move from extreme rain and storms to extra hot. I’m not sure that’s going to be an improvement, though a day or so of warm and dry weather would be appreciated in my rainy forest right now.