On a warm moon lit night recently I couldn’t sleep; at three in the morning I was sitting at the kitchen worktop, with the light of the moon streaming in through the window sipping a cup of tea.
I was debating whether I would indulge myself with some toast, knowing that sleep would not be easy coming. It was one of the nights we all get, where the brain is overactive and the neatly made bed on my side had become a tossed morass - himself slumbering the sleep of the just, a gentle snore intruding on the stillness of the night every now and again.
As I moved to open the bread bin a movement in the moonlit garden caught my eye. I stood still, not sure if we had an intruder lurking behind the bush, and ready to grab the cordless phone; a cloud passed over and the garden darkened.
As it cleared, I saw that the Vixen who inhabits the end of the garden was slowly making her way down towards the house. Sinuously moving from side to side, her nose investigating all the interesting possibilities that make life worthwhile to a fox. Suddenly she stopped, raised her head and turned towards what was formerly my Mother’s hen run, now a long deserted support for a clematis of gargantuan proportions.
Delicately lifting one front paw, she slowly retreated up the incline and as she did so I watched as the Dog fox came into view from behind the Chrysanthemums in one of the flowerbeds. Just as slowly as the lady he place one paw deliberately in front of the other. She stopped all movement and he advanced towards her cautiously.
Suddenly she leapt into the air, half twisting as she returned to the mossy grass, he pounced towards her and they began to dance sideways around each other. For what seemed like hours, but in reality were merely minutes they danced a minuet around each other. I stood entranced, at the back of my mind was the thought that surely this should be a foxtrot!
As swiftly and as lightly as a butterfly, she suddenly raced up the garden towards the big granite rock at the top of it. Leaping on it she started to preen herself, snapping at the dog fox; if the lady was going to succumb, she was not going to do it easily. Faint heart never won fair fox was obviously her motto.
I contemplated trying gently to open a window to listen to her calls, but the moment I put hand to window catch she suddenly decided it was time to dance again and she whirled down off the rock, raced right through the garden and into the flowerbed leaving a bewildered male looking after her in the moonlight. If I had been closer to him I am sure that his face would have registered total resignation and the thought obviously in his head was “Women!” However, nothing loathe, he followed her to the flowerbed and soon they were tumbling head over paw between the dahlia’s and the fuchsia.
A long twenty minutes later during which I had begun to think about returning to bed, he slowly appeared from behind the fuchsias and trotted off nonchalantly heading down by the side the house. As he passed, the outside light came on. He froze momentarily, well used to it yet, despite his recent night of passion, still alert.
At a more leisurely pace, Madam Fox moved out to sit beside the hen run and groom herself meticulously. She was serenely beautiful, and sated looking. She groomed from tip of brush to nose and when satisfied that she was the Coco Chanel of the Vulpes world, she trotted off up the garden, behind the Lilac bushes, over the big rock. There she paused, highlighted by the moon, looked back over her shoulder straight towards me, and I would swear she grinned a foxy grin at me.
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