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  • Aram Mitchell

seeing the fox seeing me

One morning this week I saw a fox trotting through someone’s backyard. I was out for a run. I don’t think the fox saw me at first. We ran parallel to each other for a while, several houses worth. Then I lost sight. When I turned the corner at the end of the road the fox was there, sitting still in the grass, and now looking at me.

Have you ever been regarded by a fox? Ever been held in its gaze? Ever been the subject of that curious look, that inquiry about why it is that you’re there near to where the fox might want to be? That jolt of a glance that wakes you up to your own existence in the moment, to your own being there.

This sort of encounter with a fox has happened to me twice in recent memory. It happened once this week, on Tuesday morning. And once last fall in a neighborhood near where my nieces live.

‘Happened’ feels like the right word. This sort of encounter is a happening. The timing of it — of two creatures who seemingly belong to two different worlds coming together in a way that exposes that that just isn’t so — was a welcome happenstance in the midst of my morning routine.

These happenings are abundant. They are, perhaps, the most common thing. These opportunities to recognize that we share this world, and to ponder what it means to integrate my presence right here with yours right there. Our days are full of such happenings. Seldom with a fox, but more or less constantly with everything else.

May this bounty wake us up to the way the world works. May our hearts regard one another with curiosity and compassion. May our hearts see the world as something to share.


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