Outside of violent storms (hurricanes being the principal vectors), when Caribbean odors and tropical birds off course are part of our purview, true wildness is quite rare in our gardens. Annually, we have the laments of migrating geese and there is a period of passing raptors. Down the road from the entrance to Madoo across little Sagg bridge, right where the fulling mill stood, herds of littlest alewives thrust, swarm, and leap their way to spawn. The very air of the garden seems vibrant with them then. And I recall the day-after hurricane when the entire landscape was shining with the golden wings of monarch butterflies briefly resting. All clouds illustrate foreign shapes among familiar, inexplicable affairs and alliances. And there is frost in the cry of an owl.
Generally, however, the garden is not visited by the uncommon or the extraordinary. So-called wild gardens are composed of decent and ordinary plants not yet considered acceptable within the proscribed borders of the garden, as much as it may be some considerable columbine newly found in some Tibetan montane whose bloom may briefly catch at the throat. Nothing in the garden catches at the scalp unless it be the brief glory of a rainbow.
So prepare the stage and let lopingly enter a fox, a fox and more than one. And often. Not just a chance visitor but as a returner, not a colonizer, not at all, but as a streaking marvel set on some unrevealed task. If it be at killing, then we have an overflowing, undiminishing plenitude of voles, moles, mice, rats, chipmunks, squirrels, shrews, rabbits, and large and small cans and bags of our garbage.
They have not been here in numbers for years, endemic mange and distemper having pruned the population at an early agonizing age, letting aforementioned vermin enormously multiply in the interval.
That they are here at all is warming evidence that not all of our interference and meddling is capable of hamstringing the normal process of regeneration and culling. Back is the fox, probably briefly, before it seemingly vanishes in one of nature’s cycles.
A kempt and bushy tail held proudly horizontal. A dainty predation barely touching the earth. An enigma of a face revealing no emotion, no thought, a perfect mask for a brilliant pursuer, a more than average curtailer, a largish yet little-seeming dog that may take sun in your garden as if lying in a little bowl of honey.
For a couple of weeks now, just how many I do not know. There is a pale. There is a red, or perhaps the red makes more trips than the pale.
A rabbit may burst from cover and I know that one has been there.