A New Year
January 8, 2012, 9:22 pm
Filed under: The Great Outdoors

It is with great sadness that I have to explain the reason for the lack of posts as of late to The WildWood. My father, an infinite source of inspiration and a rock in my life, passed away just before the New Year. It was a shock and still is to myself and my family. He will forever be with us in memory.

In his memory I wanted to recall one of the last experiences we shared together. It was the day after Thanksgiving, and we had just sent the ladies out to go shopping. Myself, my brother, and our Father headed over to the woods for a walk . These were the same woods that I had spent my youth running around in, exploring, pushing over dead trees, and riding bikes.  The leaves had all finally fallen from the trees and the sun had settled into its low hanging winter position, casting long shadows throughout the forest floor. It was a gentle walk, first past the old graveyard along some single track and then onto the creek crossing. Periodically along the way we stopped to chat about nothing extraordinary. At one such stop my father tilted his head back and let out a loud primal screech echoing through the woods, seemingly just to make sure he was still alive. At another stop we  took a piss on a fallen log.  It was as if the further into the woods we walked the more we reverted to some wild place inside.

When we finally reached the creek we stopped to sit on the rocks while the dog sat in and drank from the stream. We sat there awhile, not saying much, just enjoying each others presence. Before we left however we spotted down stream a beautiful and large fox with a big red tail. It was a rare sight for the time of the day, and in all time I had spent in these woods had never seen a fox like that. For several moments we were transfixed by its presence and then it continued down stream. After the encounter we made our out way out of the woods, satisfied with the time we shared and for having witnessed the beautiful fox that day.

The day after my father passed away I went out for my regular morning walk with the dog. When we got close to the woods I began thinking about that last walk I shared with my father. I was glad that one of the last memories I had with him could have been that time in the woods. Just as I was remembering that last walk a motion at the tree line caught my eye. At that moment a large fox, maybe the same fox, stepped out of the woods. Unfazed by my presence or my dog going crazy, the fox gingerly crossed the the street in front of us and was gone just as quickly as he appeared.

Last year I resoluted to spend less time reading about the outdoors and simply spend more time outside and in the woods. In this New Year I am going to double down on that resolution. I’ve gotta get back into the woods to walk, to fish,  to breath… and I have got to see that fox again.


9 Comments so far
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Hello, I don’t know who you are (!) but somehow I manage to have your blog as an RSS feed in my mail account.. your post today made my eyes fill with tears, and I found myself imagining the beautiful fox you described with a sense of love and awe. Below is a poem that you triggered in my memory, and I thank you for continuing to write – I look forward to hearing more about your ventures into the woods…

The Thought-Fox
I imagine this midnight moment’s forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock’s loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
Though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:

Cold, delicately as the dark snow
A fox’s nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come

Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Brilliantly, concentratedly,
Coming about its own business

Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.

Ted Hughes

Comment by Leonie

leaving a comment seems almost meaningless here… just letting you know still reading. will borrow your resolution too. best, jf

Comment by 10engines

Very sorry for your loss. Good luck with the fox.

Comment by Jason Landry

Once beyond the village, where the cottages ceased abruptly, on either side of the road they could smell through the darkness the friendly fields again; and they braced themselves for the last long stretch, the home stretch, the stretch that we know is bound to end, some time, in the rattle of the door-latch, the sudden firelight, and the sight of familiar things greeting us as long-absent travellers from far oversea. They plodded along steadily and silently, each of them thinking his own thoughts. The Mole’s ran a good deal on supper, as it was pitch-dark, and it was all a strange country to him as far as he knew, and he was following obediently in the wake of the Rat, leaving the guidance entirely to him. As for the Rat, he was walking a little way ahead, as his habit was, his shoulders humped, his eyes fixed on the straight grey road in front of him; so he did not notice poor Mole when suddenly the summons reached him, and took him like an electric shock.
We others, who have long lost the more subtle of the physical senses, have not even proper terms to express an animal’s intercommunications with his surroundings, living or otherwise, and have only the word ‘smell’, for instance, to include the whole range of delicate thrills which murmur in the nose of the animal night and day, summoning, warning, inciting, repelling. It was one of these mysterious fairy calls from out the void that suddenly reached Mole in the darkness, making him tingle through and through with its very familiar appeal, even while as yet he could not clearly remember what it was. He stopped dead in his tracks, his nose searching hither and thither in its efforts to recapture the fine filament, the telegraphic current, that had so strongly moved him, a moment, and he had caught it again; and with it this time came recollection in fullest flood.
Home! That was what they meant, those caressing appeals, those soft touches wafted through the air, those invisible little hands pulling and tugging, all one way! Why, it must be quite close by him at that moment, his old home that he had hurriedly forsaken and never sought again, that day when he first found the river! And now it was sending out its scouts and its messengers to capture him and bring him in. Since his escape on that bright morning he had hardly given it a thought, so absorbed had he been in his new life, in all its pleasures, its surprises, its fresh and captivating experiences. Now, with a rush of old memories, how clearly it stood up before him, in the darkness! Shabby indeed, and small and poorly furnished, and yet his, the home he had made for himself, the home he had been so happy to get back to after his day’s work. And the home had been happy with him, too, evidently, and was missing him, and wanted him back, and was telling him so, through his nose, sorrowfully, reproachfully, but with no bitterness or anger; only with plaintive reminder that it was there, and wanted him.

Comment by Michael Rettie

Condolences to you and yours. Losing a parent can leave a big hole in your heart. Fill it with the woods and find peace.

Comment by pcoristi

Never know to say in these moments but giving condolences to you. I enjoyed reading about your walk in the forest, i thought in a similar resolution that also includes reading and outdoors. I’m also looking forward to hearing more about your ventures into the woods.

Comment by bluesistheteacher

I am very sad for you. I hope your dog gives you many kisses and you have many encounters with that fox.

Comment by rumpydog

Just wanted to thank everyone for the kinds words and words of inspiration. Thanks for reading.

Comment by The WildWood

Hope you are well.

Comment by pcoristi (@pcoristi)

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