Storytime with Erika
It’s believed by many, that crows are a symbol of bad luck and death, but by others, crows are the symbol of life, magic, and mysteries. They also symbolize intelligence, flexibility, and destiny.
In this short journal, I reveal some of my observations and experiences with having the privilege to know a crow family for decades, and I also share a great memory of watching and raising a litter of orphaned fox pups.
I’m a writer. Am I telling you a true story or is this a figment of my imagination? You decide. I wrote this story only for the purpose of entertainment, but I hope you will be able to relate to my observations, feelings, and experiences, and appreciate these intelligent, majestic birds as much as I do.
Happiness and Good Health
For about four years, we saw only Julia and Julius with one of their offspring on the property. As Grandma’s rhyme said, three brings news of happiness and good health, seemed to be coming true. We had great jobs, our daughter thrived in school and became interested in art.
Although my neighbor’s young pig made a mess of the flower garden once when he escaped from the pigpen, their Guinea Hens had kept the property clear of ticks and bugs. They scoured every square foot and feasted on the tasty bugs and grubs.
Moreover, that summer we had a once in a lifetime experience.
We enjoyed a lazy afternoon in the backyard. My hubby had gone inside to watch a sports event on television.
I stayed outside, enjoyed the perfect weather, and listened to the birds’ excited chirps. They must have found a tasty bug or grub. I didn’t want to know what it was they had caught. It was enough for me to know they were happy.
Two squirrels, which lived in the attic of the old cottage in the backyard, chased each other up and down a pine tree and across the branches of an old oak. I marveled at their ability to climb fearlessly and jump into the air with a precise destination in mind. They both landed on a thin branch of the oak and continued their chase. I had no idea if they were fighting, or just simply playing and enjoying themselves. They didn’t sound angry; they seemed to be making happy sounds, but since I hadn’t learned to speak squirrel, I could only guess.
Soon, Julia had enough of the loud chatter and scared the squirrels away by cawing and flapping her wings as she swooped down, chasing them. I had a feeling that Julia enjoyed the chase and after the squirrels hid in the bushes, she cawed her victory song perching on her favorite tree stump.
I heard my frequent visitor, the tiny emerald hummingbird. He was whirring over my head toward the flowerpots. He sounded like a giant bumblebee as he flew around me. Then he hovered by a flower drinking its sweet nectar. He visited a few more flowers before disappearing as quickly as he had come. I went inside to get my camera, hoping to take pictures of the beautiful, tiny bird on his next visit.
As I sat on a comfy lawn chair, waiting to get a picture of the hummingbird, I saw Julia circling over the clearing by the old cottage in the backyard and heard high-pitched, yapping sounds. The yaps became a consistent chorus. I tried to figure out what kind of animals were making the noise and why Julia was so fascinated by them, so I went to investigate. Step by step, I crept toward the corner of the building. Hiding behind an oak tree, I peeked out.
To my utter surprise, I saw a group of adorable fox pups.
Their sweet and curious little faces melted my heart instantly. I was so happy when I realized that the camera was in my hand. Ever so slowly, I lifted the camera to eye level and took the first picture of the adorable pups. They were looking toward me without fear; they didn’t view me as a threat. I was rooted to the spot, afraid to move a muscle. I didn’t want to scare them away and Julia must have had the same thoughts, she quietly perched on a low branch watching the pups.
My legs started to cramp up, but I didn’t budge. Four little foxes! I mused. They’re the cutest. Oh my God! Look at those little faces. I enjoyed the sight immensely.
Then two more pups appeared. They rolled leisurely on the dry leaves and stretched their baby muscles. Sniffing each other, they clumsily played with each other’s tails. Their movements weren’t precise and often they missed the target as they swatted at each other or tried to bite a leaf or twig.
And then I counted seven pups.
The magnificent seven popped into my mind. I was so disappointed when I realized that one little pup hid by the time I was ready to snap the shot. She lay down behind the one sitting in the right lower corner.
Suddenly I heard a sharp, barking sound from the bushes.
The little foxes’ ears perked up, and they looked in the direction where the warning bark came from. Within a second, they were gone, retreating into a hole that was dug under the building.
As slowly and quietly as I could, I moved away from the tree, thinking that, to them, my footsteps probably sounded like the rumbling of a bulldozer. However, I couldn’t help my clumsy human feet, which made loud noises as I walked back to the house.
They made a nest under the cottage. Seven baby foxes! They’re just simply adorable. I promised myself that I wouldn’t bother them, but I couldn’t help making plans to take a few more pictures as they were growing up.
My brain was already making plans. I could see the side of the cottage from behind the doghouse, so I would be able to see when the momma fox was away on a hunt. Then I could hide behind the tree and take pictures of the babies. Perhaps they would get used to my smell, and they wouldn’t move away.
I told my hubby what I had found and showed him the pictures as I downloaded them. Zoltan was amazed and tried to think of the best way to approach them to take more pictures so we wouldn’t scare the momma fox away. We were looking forward to watching them grow.
Little did we know...
Storytime with Erika. Enjoy!
Erika M Szabo
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