Living in the Wild
When I was a youngster, I couldn’t wait to get free of the small town I grew up in. I wanted the farther horizons, to see the “big city” for myself. In college I loved traveling to New York City with its peacock attitude and flashy lights, but quickly realized I had no desire to live in a big city.
I have found myself living in metroplexes and cities of a 100,000 as an adult and while I wouldn’t mind living in Fort Worth again, I am content living in the country. The solitude and tranquility of country living is a welcome balm to the busyness of life and the hustle and bustle of the workplace. You might say the country is my retreat.
The most enticing joys of country living are the wonderful neighbors that drop by unexpectedly. One lovely fall afternoon, a flock of wild turkeys promenaded through the backyard, stalked by our cat, who couldn’t resist the temptation, but was no match for the majestic birds.
Another day, investigating a noise at the back door, we encountered a badger, one of our more reclusive neighbors. He rooted through a sumptuous feast of wet garbage, cantaloupe, and watermelon rinds.
The ubiquitous coyote has loped through our front yard, along with the occasional cougar. While I delighted in the nightly coyote symphonies, having a cougar run through the yard was a bit unsettling. More so, when we’ve gone out at night to rescue what we thought was our treed cat, only to have the cougar jump out of the tree with a thwack and low growl and flee into the night.
But our most impressive and regal neighbor was a red fox who stopped by one pleasant afternoon for a lengthy chat. My husband and I were enjoying the cool in lawn chairs when Mr. Fox strolled around the corner of the carport and stopped to look us over, not twenty feet away.
We held our breath, frozen in our chairs, then spoke gently. The fox pricked his ears and dropped to a lounging position on the tawny grass (We’re in West Texas. Even in the spring, the grass isn’t green, but a khaki brown.) For twenty minutes the fox watched us, listening intently to our low and one-sided conversation with him. Then he rose and resumed his regular routine, trotting off in a leisurely manner.