Taking time to enjoy the summer solstice brought me an unexpected surprise

Hubby and I had late afternoon doctor's appointments so we found ourselves going out for a dinner at our favorite salad bar restaurant afterward. I realized while we were there that today would be the longest day of the year. We drove home the long way, enjoying some beautiful scenery as well as the quaint business district of our smallish town.

When we finally made our way home, I didn't want to go inside until it got completely dark. I wanted to enjoy every little bit of sunlight left in the sky. So we went into the back garden, and I got the idea to have a fire in our pretty "firepit" (handcrafted by a dear friend from a reclaimed propane tank).

I love to build open fires. It's my thing. I LOVE it! Probably too much.

Hubby gathered small pieces of scrap off the nearby woodpile, and I built the fire on top of a pile of pine needles that had collected in the bottom of the "firepit" over the winter. It wasn't any time at all before we had a lovely fire blazing with its amber light flickering and dancing through the dragonfly silhouettes cut out of the sides of the former tank.

We sat and sat watching the sky grow dimmer as the flames burned lower. This is something I've never done before to enjoy the longest day of the year. It was all a new and fun spur-of-the-moment experience for us both.

As the last light was leaving the sky and the flames had burned down to almost nothing, we thought we should probably make our way inside. But we sat a little longer.

I'm glad I did.

I heard a rustle in the garden plants just 7-8 feet away from where I sat under the wisteria. I squinted into the dark thicket under the cherry tree to see if it was a skunk or an opossum. I could barely make out a furry form climbing onto the rocks that are stacked around a large horse trough I have filled with water and recirculating through a bio-filter for the wildlife to drink from.

I squinted harder and could see the form was much bigger and lighter than a skunk. And its tail was too bushy to be an opossum. Was it a raccoon? I couldn't see stripes on the tail and the body looked too lithe and lean.

Then my heart leapt in my chest with excitement. Could it really be what I thought it was?

All I had was my iPhone for light, so I turned on the screen and pointed it in the direction of the animal. It kept its head down drinking. The light was so weak it wasn't helping much. But I could see the long fluffy tail that looked too long to be a neighborhood cat.

Then the animal's head turned and the light reflected off of its beautiful eyes as it stood and stared trying to figure out what the iPhone was.

Yes. It was what I thought. It was a grey fox!!!!!

It stood there looking at me for quite a few seconds. Hubby couldn't see it from where he was sitting only a couple of feet farther away. I finally said, "Honey, it's a fox!" in a loud whisper.

As soon as I did, the fox turned its head and with a quiet rustle disappeared as if it had never been there.

I cannot begin to express in words how moving it was to see the fox and how grateful I am for the rare opportunity to see it in my own garden. They are rare anywhere in these parts, and rarely spotted by humans because of their stealthy shyness. Hubby spotted a fox two times in less than a week last year. It had been the only time in 12 years either of us have seen one. He wished so badly I would have seen it too. Now I have.

Welcoming in the summer solstice by being spontaneous and enjoying the moment brought me a gift I will never forget.

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  1. What a great lesson. More of us should sit quietly and see what there is to see around us. We see red foxes from time to time, but never a grey fox.

    We have foxes and deer and opossums and raccoons and skunks ... squirrels and groundhogs ... and all manner of birds. We even had a black bear last year! (and a coyote the year before) Oh, the joys of living in the country.

  2. It is people who feel like you do, who treasure that rare moment when we get to co-exist with wildlife for those brief seconds that will save this world.

    You are the ones who convey that feeling so eloquently that the rest of us who may never experience it will remember it forever.

    It just might be the glimpse that inspires a movement, sparks a interest, or changes a decision that will help conserve land, and save wildlife. You never know.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  3. Enjoying nature, a lovely fire in a quaint fire pit as you wait for the sun to set. Sounds like the perfect romantic evening.

  4. What a wonderful way to celebrate the summer solstice! I have never thought to make a special celebration out of it. The fox visit was a pure gift. I don't see them that often either...a real treat. Happy summer!

  5. I love those little brushes with nature. I feel so completely honoured and blessed by those encounters. I feel, too, that it says a lot about you and the environment you've created that so many wild things feel safe there.


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