A Glimpse of Red

In the midst of yesterday’s wintery mix, I looked out my back door into my neighbor’s yard, and caught just the faintest glimpse of red. It was just at the crest of the fence at the rear of the yard, between the toolshed and the tree.

Suddenly this still and wary redness moved, and formed itself into a shape that balanced atop the fence as daintily as a tightrope walker. Where there had been only red, I now saw buff and black.

Once again the shape moved, and took form: four legs, a pointed nose, upstanding and curious ears. Rather than leap from the fence, it climbed swiftly downward and disappeared behind the shed. A moment later, inquiring eyes peered out and surveyed the landscape.

Whatever it saw (or didn’t see) suddenly impelled the shape forward, trotting briskly, doglike but for the liquid smoothness of its gait. It moved so quickly, so sleekly. By the time I got to the kitchen window for a better view, all I could see was a line of small footprints that led into our yard, over the fence, down the drive and away. I was too slow, and the fox was gone.

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