I woke up in the middle of the night last night to the sound of a fox. Really, it's not that uncommon. We hear them all the time out the front windows of the house, in the fields across the road. But this time, the fox was much, much closer. In fact, I could tell it was in the back of the house and sounded close enough to be in our yard. I listened a little longer to be sure it wasn't just a dream or the breathing of the person in bed beside me.
You'd think I'd be desensitized by now, but I seriously HATE the sound of these foxes. They send chills down my neck and make me want to revert back to my thunder-storm-panicked childhood with hands clamped over my ears and covers pulled up to my eyeballs. But, I must put on a brave front for the little people in my house.
I coo to them, "It's just a sweet little fox. We're safe inside. There's nothing it can do. Just listen to it. Doesn't it sound so neat?" I'm such a faker. If they only knew.
Last night however, its proximity to the house had me a little panicked. I had visions of those little barn kittens scampering around the garden shed. I worried that we hadn't done a good chicken count before locking the doors of the coop for the night.
So I did the only brave thing a farm girl could do. I woke up Dan.
There's a fox!
It's in the yard!
Did we lock in the chickens?
What about Maggie????
Thankfully, Dan loves some good fox drama so half-awake he bumbled downstairs to listen more closely. Finally he opened up the mudroom door and Ruby went tearing off across the yard–whether it was after the fox or she just really had to go the bathroom, I don't know. But the fox either quieted down, or disappeared. Hopefully, the later.
Dan came back upstairs to find me and Mary standing in the hallway waiting for a full report.
Unlike many nights in this house lately, we'd played musical beds at some point in the nighttime hours. We stopped for a moment in the hall, discussed the fox, my concerns over the animals, maybe it was time to get some bullets for his gun, the fact that the little person sleeping in bed with me had slept through her need to go the bathroom, and was sleeping fitfully and kicking, and did I set his alarm for 5:30?
A small family meeting in the hallway. I felt like we needed to smack high fives and do a secret handshake before we returned back to our stations in seperate bedrooms with children needing to be snuggled.
The whole fox thing threw me off and I had a hard time falling back to sleep. My mind recalled stories of my mother's bravery. Of the night when she heard something attacking our guineas and raced down the steps and outside in her nightgown with a broom, a broom, swinging wildly in the dark at whatever was on the attack. She came back in and said something brushed past her legs and was gone.
I like to think that if neccesary, I could step up and have that kind of bravery. But for now, if Dan's available, I'll gladly default to him.
I did eventually fall asleep and my dreams involved a large mother bear and her cub which had gotten into the house. Dan and I were racing around upstairs dropping our children out of the windows to keep them from being gobbled up. A short fall obviously better than a bear attack. Maybe it had something to do with the bedtime story being The Biggest Bear, or the fact that Dan mentioned he left the mudroom door open so Ruby could come and go in the night.
All I know is that in my dream, I was brave. And I carried a broom.
photos? backside view of the house I grew up in. + my brave mother holding baby me.