Against the Law
The whales are back, spouting just beyond the breakers. During the recent weeks of rain, they’ve been absent. How far out to sea do they travel when heading north from Baja with their young, when the entire coast of California is engulfed in primeval storms? They know where to go, of course. They aren’t lost to themselves, only to us.
The fox was invisible during the rains as well. She came in the dark to check for snacks, which I did leave out for her. Hunting in such a downpour might be difficult, as everyone is hiding as best they can, though I did see the sharp-shinned hawk on his hunting perches, looking thoroughly soggy and miserable. Anyway, I figured the fox would come take a look during a lull in the rain, though there didn’t seem to be any lulls that I was aware of. The downpour was uninterrupted. Now that the rain has eased up and we’ve had several glorious days, she comes in the late afternoon and lies in the sun in the meadow, head on her paws, unconcerned with today’s roaring huge waves and the whales that are spouting beyond.
Last week, she left her fox poop calling card in a different location from the usual spot. It was in the middle of the deck outside my writing studio. When I saw it, I went out to take a look. It was bigger than usual and there was something odd about it. At first, the unnatural purple didn’t register for what it was. I had found some ripe blackberries and put them out for her and thought maybe… Then I looked more closely at the poop and realized that I was seeing the shreds of a purple balloon. My heart sank. I hadn’t seen her yet that day and didn’t know if she was OK. I wondered, of course, if the placement of this unusual fresh poop had been intentional, if she had been in pain after eating that damn balloon and was letting me know. If she were in distress, would she show me? Would she allow me to help her? Did we have that much trust between us? She usually doesn’t run now when she sees me. Twice, when I was placing a piece of fruit or an egg in our usual spot, I’ve seen her hiding under the deck, about five feet away – the closest we’ve gotten to each other. As I write this, I’m sitting outside and she’s sunning herself in the garden about thirty feet away. The other night, when my friend was here, the fox stopped by the sliding glass door and peered in.
If she were hurt or ill, and IF she allowed me to help, what would I do? I try to imagine wrapping her in a towel and taking her to the emergency animal hospital but that’s about as far as I get in my thinking. It’s probably illegal – handling wild animals and all that, interfering in Nature’s rhythms. But what’s natural about a purple balloon in the belly of a fox? Shouldn’t that be even more illegal?