The Fox Run

A fox popped up in front of the objective on the first day I tried my new Nikon D90, a Christmas gift from my husband. My heart started pounding as fast as if I’d run a sprint: it was as if he’d thrown himself at me as an offering to my undeserving amateurism in photography. The camera was set on the landscape option. I started to shoot. At the sound of the first shot, the fox turned his head, lowered his body in a defense position, and looked at me, surprised and terrified.

He ran away in a circle towards the end of our yard and when he felt he was in safe distance, stopped for a second to take another at me and assess the danger. I’m sure he heard my heart pounding. An experienced photographer may have taken the opportunity to change the camera to a better setting but I forgot all about that. I continued to shoot as the fox ran away. Before disappearing in the forest, he stopped again, twice. He seemed to pause for me — for the picture.

The first shot reminded my husband of an 1893 painting by Winslow Homer, “The Fox Hunt,” owned by Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.


My friend Betty told me that some Native Americans and people who practice Shamanism, or have it in their roots like her, look to animals as guides.

“Your fox friend has come to share something. (A photographer must become invisible and I can picture you running through the woods like a little fox!),” she wrote.

She shared with me this excerpt, from a Web site called Sayahda:

“The Fox.

There are several different species of fox, but they all share the extreme cleverness and cunning that gave rise to the expression, “sly as a fox.” Fox speaks of the need to develop the art of camouflage, invisibility, and shape shifting. It is agile, skilled, and unpredictable.
A fox being pursued by hounds will run across the tops of walls, cross streams diagonally, double back on its trail, run in circles and do anything to break the trail of its scent. It has a great ability to outwit both predators and prey. Fox teaches us how to slip out of unpleasant situations quietly and unnoticed.
Those with fox as a totem are often clever and witty but must remember to keep their crafty and clever nature balanced or it could backfire. Fox can also suggest that your actions might be too obvious and you need to learn to be more discreet.
Fox is one of the most uniquely skilled and ingenious animals of nature. Because it is a creature of the night, it is often imbued with supernatural powers. Author Ted Andrews states that fox are usually seen at dawn and dusk. Dusk is the beginning of its day, and the dawn its ending. These are the in between times, when the world of magic and the world in which we live intersect. It lives on the edges of forests and open lands, the border areas. Because it is an animal of the between times and places, it can be a guide into the faerie realm. The fox has a long history of magic and cunning associated with it. It can move in and out of situations restoring order or causing confusion depending on the situation. If fox is your totem pay attention to the way it moves and follow its lead. This is a powerful medicine to have and those that it belongs to should learn to use its skills for the benefit of all, including you.”

(The fox hears the first camera shot.)

(The fox runs in a circle to the edge of the woods.)

(The fox takes another look at me.)

(The fox pauses for the pitcure.)


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