“What the Fox Said.”
Once upon a time, there was a lady who lived on a very large island, a very large island indeed, that was full of many magics and delights. She loved this island very much, but though she had been born upon it, she never really felt that she belonged there.
She went and visited the smaller island where her parents had lived, and their parents, and so on for who knew how many lives. Some parts of it felt like home, and it was beautiful and magical and called to her bones, but she still knew this was not where she belonged.
She went home to her very large island, and she began to learn more about where she was born. She learned to love the trees, the birds and the animals of that place. She learned to journey in inner lands where both islands came together in one vast landscape of the mind. Still, she looked about her sometimes and felt like an stranger on this magic island. She felt that she didn't belong there, and it was a sadness to her.
One day, as she sat in her magic place in her inner landscape, she saw a face peering at her from among the trees. It was the pointed orange, black and white face of a fox.
|Photo by Naturelover6|
“Do you want to come into my Grove?” asked the lady. The fox just looked at her.
“Do you want me to come with you?” asked the lady. The fox nodded yes and turned bushy-tail into the forest. The lady got up and went across the clearing. As she did, she found herself turning into a fox too. Light and bright as a spring wind, she leapt into the woods and ran after her Guide.
South they ran, and east, south and east, light-footed and bright-footed and tireless, and until at last they came to a new part of this landscape, a part where she had never been before. All around her now grew tall trees that she knew well, as they grew about her house on the very large island. The undergrowth was ferny and prickled and the ground was dry and red-rocky, but ahead of them was a granite outcrop, a smooth, grey pile of rounded rocks against the tall grey trunks of the trees.
The Fox Guide sat, then, and looked at this castle of grey granite. The Fox Lady sat beside him, curling her tail around herself neatly to keep her bottom warm. She wasn't sure what to say or ask, but the attention of her Guide kept her looking at the stones, and as she did, she saw a family of foxes, mother and soft babies, come down out of hiding and begin to play amongst the ferns and the red rocks, to tumble and leap and dance, light as dandelion seeds, in that foxy way they have.
|Photos by Mike Robinson|
Fox gestured with his pointed black nose towards his family. “We did not ask to be brought here,” he said. “Man brought us here, then turned against us. Feral, they call us, and they hunt and poison us, but we thrive anyway. We thrive in this strange land of magic and beauty. Every cell of us is made of this place. Where to belong, if not here?”
The Fox Guide looked at the Lady Fox with mysterious orange eyes. “Where to belong if not here?” he said again, and went to join his family that played and thrived among the stones and trees on that very large island.
“Where to belong if not here? Where to thrive if not here?” The lady repeated to herself as she trotted alone, light-footed and bright-footed, back to her magic clearing in that inner forest of old and new lands, and thence back to her outer place on the very large, very beautiful island.
Her cells too were made of that place, and she too belonged. Now she had only to learn to thrive.
By T. L. Merrybard, written for Touchstone, the newsletter of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.