No sooner had I stepped inside the backdoor than my wife informed me that the fox was dead. “I saw him lying by the side of the road when I was out for a walk earlier today,” she said. “Must’ve been hit by a car.”
The fox had taken up residence in our village several years ago. There were periodic sightings in the neighborhood. I had seen his silhouette cross the street on one of my pre-dawn excursions, and caught a glimpse of his red bushy tail along the retaining wall on Wood Duck Lane. Our friends on Winthrop had seen him roaming the cemetery, and my daughter and son-in-law discovered his lair in a pile of fallen tree trunks near their home.
When a free-range rooster and hen disappeared this past summer, we figured the fox had gotten them.
After dinner I pulled on my plaid woolen jacket and walked down Elm Street with my daughter to see him. The carcass was still there, nestled among the brown leaves in the grass. He had a thick grey winter coat and amber eyes. With his fore-paws bent he looked so life-like, almost as if he were poised to dash off into the woods.
“This is so sad,” my daughter said, “so very sad.”
It was almost as though a local human inhabitant had passed away. A queasiness rose in my stomach as I snapped a few digital photos to document the death.