The Glowing

"Let's climb Rocko Obama!"

This request is made on most days as we walk the path to our Blue House site. Sometimes I will hurry the children past the landmark, a great boulder jutting out above the path, if the walk is taking longer than usual. Since the Tracks, our 4- and 5-year olds, are faster walkers we will usually stop.

Earlier in the morning I noticed a glowing orange out of the corner of my eye on the top of Rocko Obama. I didn't think anything of it until one of the co-opers said, "There's something up there!" even as the children were already scrambling up. It came back to me in a rush. I knew what it was even before I scrambled to the top. My heart was already breaking.

We are in an urban forest and wildlife is not hard to find, but the wildlife we see is in perpetual danger from humans. Especially this vixen and here she was now, dead. She is and was perfect. Her fur shone in the Winter light. Her paws were the most heartbreaking. So much like a pet's, like a siamese cat, a deep brown black. There was no trauma. No evidence of a hard death, but that is exactly what she had . . . a hard death. She had been poisoned.

Children have a great capacity for kindness and empathy in moments like these. When I told the children how sad I was about this fox' death one of the children nodded solemnly and said, "Lesley, it was her time." And it was, but it also wasn't. This fox didn't need to die. She would have been more effective in killing the rats and mice the poison was intended for if she had been allowed to live.

The children picked english ivy leaves and placed them on her glowing fur. The leaves were like green jewels. I came back later with a friend and former co-oper and we slid the fox' body into a hollow tree and propped sticks and logs in a criss cross door over the opening.

Rest easy, fox, your struggle is done.