If I am repaired, can we meet again for the first time, in all of the places I have feared to go, and then, again, in all of the places I will have forgotten, if I am repaired?



Monday, November 22, 2010

A Visit to Glenda's

Yesterday evening was warm. The moon was full and up before the sun had even set. It was a perfect evening, Gloria said, to walk across the road to the big blue barn where Glenda lives, and visit.

When the moon is going to be full, or mostly full, Glenda’s children and their families come to the big blue barn too. They gather there around dusk. When the sun sets, the men will go out to hunt. The women will stay back at the barn, tending the pups, if there are any, and visiting with Glenda.

Glenda is old now. She may be the oldest Red fox ever. Mostly, I think Glenda has lived this long because Gloria has taken care of her... spoiled her. Glenda has never really had to go out and hunt, or be hunted. If Glenda went out, it was just for exercise or to teach her pups.

Most of Glenda’s family was there when Gloria and I arrived. Twenty or more Reds of all sizes. Only four pups though—a late litter. Gloria convinced the mother to keep them up at the blue barn where she could bring them food and bedding if winter got rough.

We waited for the men to leave and then sat down to chat with Glenda and the young mothers. Gloria has been trying to learn Glenda’s entire real name—Glenda’s Red fox name. I don’t know if it’s possible. I think some of a Red fox’s name is in their blood, not just their memory.

I’ve told you about a Red fox’s name haven’t I?

Well, if I haven’t…

It’s kind of hard to explain, but a Red fox’s name is more like a story, a history book… a lineage. Take Glenda’s for instance, (Glenda, by the way, is just what I call her, since I can’t remember three minutes of her real name) Glenda’s fox name is also her mother’s name and her mother’s mother’s name and so on, all the way back to the very first mother of all Red foxes. There are stories too, and extra bits added in for the important foxes, like say, Glenda will probably have something added to her name about being the oldest Red fox ever.

Needless to say, it’s a long name, especially when humans say it. Gloria is doing pretty well at memorizing it, but she’s got a ways to go yet. Glenda gave Gloria another bit to learn last night. And now Gloria will have pups to look in on this winter… plenty of time to visit and learn some more.


  1. I like it. It would take days to explain why, if it could be explained at all in the languages of this world.

  2. Magical as always. How old would the oldest fox in the world have to be? I imagine this antedeluvian creature curled up with her pups. Well, perhaps not THAT old, but a very old fox indeed!

  3. Beautiful and sensitive! Steven you certainly do have amazing talent.

    ...saw our red fox sifting through the field the other afternoon, much closer to the house than usual... since all the dogs were in... attentively watching her/him out the window .. she/he would have nothing to fear from them though.. they mostly just make a lot of noise... bite each others necks and run off in the wrong directions...

    ...your story reminds me of "Clan of the Cave Bear".. first in the series by Jean Auel.. .the book (not the movie, oh no not the movie)... I loved that book... ...never wanted it to end. about lineage, memory and passing along the secrets needed to survive..

  4. O.F. 'I like it,' or 'I don't like it, will do just fine.


    We've known Glenda for nine human years... she was about two when we met her. That is very old for a fox... considering they fair about as well as squirrels out on the road. The only pups Glenda curls up with these days are grandpups and great grandpups.


    Story... what story?


    I have heard that about 'Clan of the Cavebear'... never read it though... it's going to the top of my list, right now.

    I've always been fascinated by memory. The movie 'Altered States' toyed with the idea that memories can be passed on through DNA and in theory reach back to the beginning of man. If you can stomach mid 80's fashion and haven't seen it, I would suggest watching it. If you lived next door I'd borrow it to you.

  5. well it is still a story even if it was true.. that's how stories begin, isn't it..

    and hey...I did watch part of the movie Altered States.. I got as far as the cave group smoking or was it a drinking ritual and I zonked out... woke up when they had kids and feel asleep again... he kept floating in a water tank... Not a good movie to drift in and out of... I'll watch it over again and make sure I stay awake this time.


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