The Foxes' Conference
The Foxes’ Conference
It was cold weather of September October 2009 and it was about three o’clock early dawn when my eyes opened and I stood up from my bed and looked outside of my window and my eyes fell at the roundabout Island, where I see six foxes in two packs are sitting on their hind legs and facing each other in a meeting. A conference of the foxes was in progress at the West Hill roundabout island at the cross road of West Hill and Beverley Gardens. There was growling and groaning and yap between them and a judge fox was sitting at the edge of the Island, slightly perked than the pack of the foxes and one group was facing to the west and the other at a five feet distance sitting and facing to the east and a sentry fox slightly more rugged than the rest was standing at a distance of 20 feet from them. So altogether there were eight foxes involved in this scenario discussing their some community problem which had erupted between the two groups. Obviously on such occasions a judge is needed and their fox judge was nearest to me with his back and the side face facing me. I immediately joined their conference as observer and was so intrigued at their discipline they were exhibiting discussing the matter peacefully that it reminded me of the most sophisticated meetings human hold, but even these sometimes are not without eyebrows raised.
The fox leader on the east side groaned and the fox leader on the west side replied with yap and groan and this continued for at least ten minutes and as to for how long earlier they had started I could not tell since I was a late joiner as observer of their meeting. In a while there was a general roar in the meeting and an immediate suspension, it broke up. The foxes dismissed their meeting. There after the foxes on the west side sitting on the road below the curb of the Island stood up and turned towards west and the foxes on the east side also got up simultaneously and turned towards east and the judge removed himself and went separately and the sentry about turned and was seen gone walking slowly towards the north. And I was so enchanted by their meeting that I forgot to record this rare event taking place in the camera. The foxes had foxed me and I failed to record this happening.
Barn hill is our glorified woods where these foxes live. And these foxes have given me quite a tough time all through 2010-2011 and now they seem to have gone somewhere else abandoning their natural habitat. In those days when they lived here, they were often seen parading the street in the late nights. One or two foxes will come to my front court garden and sniff a thing or two and walk confidently into the flower bed spaces beyond the curb and then withdraw after stepping in there. And one day I saw one of them lurk casually disinterestedly on to catch a smart nearby squirrel who immediately was half way up the trunk of the tree sensing the intention of the fox.
And they are the most rugged creatures; I have seen the foxes roaming in the thick snow pile on the ground in front of my house. One day I saw one brave fox with snow falling and he half covered in snow is treading the snow deposit outside on the road, only it was pressing its tufted tail between its hind legs, but going unconcerned with the white snow covered ground far and near, a dissolution and bright sheet of roads and shivering landscape everywhere. And my habit of waking up at night has never been without reward, thanks for it, and that’s when I have complete peace of mind and I have seen these scenes spread before me. I have sometimes written some fine passages under trance in these conditions and in these hours. And I say thank you to my immunity to sleep in these hours and for waking me up.
The fox is the funniest semi domesticated carnivore we have. And thanks to him for providing some entertainment in our lives. Imagine a house where the fox visited it regularly and expressed its dissatisfaction that its strolling field was lined with grass turf, which was so far her play ground. The ground had stony bed and roubles and clay soil and she would dig her den and make holes in it in the corner below the tall trees and walk across it to the Barn Hill habitat by jumping over the neighbours’ fences. All this was disrupted by the new wet grass, which the fox did not like and would show her annoyance by pulling out and overturning the strips.
Each morning I would straighten the strips and then even more annoyed at it the fox/foxes would overturn many more strips. Not only that, finding the strips tending is continuing the fox in disgust one day excreted on the lawn in two, three places. So I decided enough was enough. I went and brought the repellent to make him disgusted and leave the lawn alone. This is supposed to be a smelly powder to make the fox nauseated and drive him off. But instead all it did was the fox changed its route and decided to enter in the lawn through some other passage.
It was in May 2010 that we levelled our back garden and spread grass turfs and so far we had three foxes regularly visiting our back garden, one of them would regularly take the short cut to the Barn Hill, through it after jumping down into the lawn from the unfrequented Beverley Gardens Road, making it over the fence and going to the neighbour’s house through her back garden to the route to Barn Hill.
This place Barn hill is quite spacious and of depth. It has even a water pond in which European water birds, like wild ducks would land and dip and enjoy their swim, and foxes and squirrels live making it their natural habitat and birds sing and most beautiful lizards- the mini Girgits run in summer and there are also wood mice. And it is a cosy natural habitat for the foxes and they have the characteristic that they would not leave their home and their occupation of prodding in their grounds. But unfortunately the foxes have a short life and I have seen several of them have perished in this period during the last two years. There has been a severe winter and there may not have been much to eat for them. But these foxes given an ideal habitat, give birth to litters of six seven cubs at a time in their dens and my hope is they are around to appear with their appeasing and antagonistic teasing.
Afkar-e Shia (Shia Thought)
Sayed Athar Husain