A Fox Tale

This and Other Realities:

A Fox Tale

“You are being cunningly deceived” said the sly fox with the cunning smile. I silently laid the Russian Gypsy divining cards down and wondered…

Mother Nature had gifted me with many surprises of beautiful foxes appearing in my life. I always welcomed them with love and gratitude whenever they appeared. There was the curious, friendly fox at Round Lake, the patient red fox that waited at the edge of the road by Kenogami Lake as Roger and I approached in our car, the very large and different (Arctic?) fox who sat quietly as I picked blueberries near the Esker Park lakes, and other foxes too… I felt thrilled and honoured to see them.

I wondered what the cards of the fox were trying to tell me as I put the deck of cards away. I kept this all to myself.

The following evening, my young teenage son, Aaron, returned home, wide-eyed and breathless. He said, “Mom, you won’t believe this, but a fox just followed ma as I was walking home… all the way from downtown to here!”

I looked at him with a motherly, sly smile and asked, “Do you have something to tell me, son?” He hesitated but a few minutes later reluctantly revealed that he’d been smoking cigarettes with his friends. I almost laughed, remembering the peer pressure to smoke that I also experienced at about his age. My friend’s Grandmother caught us smoking in her shed. She’d seen clouds of smoke coming out of the shed and thought it was on fire. Then my Mother found a smelly cigarette butt in my coat pocket.I think my sickly green face gave me away, despite the fact that I’d grown up with clouds of cigarette smoke in our family home every day. A few years later when sitting with another friend in a restaurant, both smoking to pretend that it made us look ‘glamorous’, my friend said, “You look ridiculous! You don’t even know how to hold that cigarette!” I looked at her, thought a few seconds, then said, “You know, you’re right!” I crushed my cigarette out and that was the end of it for me. She continued to pay for the addiction for years and I often thought of her words with gratitude.

So, Aaron stood before me, clearly expecting to be ‘grounded’ and, worse still, not be allowed to play basketball at the school in the evenings for a while. I didn’t add a strict punishment to those feelings I understood and read so clearly on his face. Back then, our home was a ‘smoke free’ zone. My husband, Roger, smoked outside in all weather. Doing that was a rarity in those days. Our daughter, Alissa, had asthma. Anywhere near any cigarette smoke in the air, since she was a toddler especially, her physical reaction would mean going immediately to the Emergency Room of a nearby Hospital. Smoking was then a ‘life and death’ situation.

There was no parental reprimand to Aaron that night. I just spoke softly. “Please don’t smoke around here, son”, and left him to learn from his choices. There’s a fine line between parental guidance and parental tyranny.

Then I silently thanked Mother Nature and her Fox who had cunningly revealed a secret to me.

(A true story from Englehart, Ontario and retold in Victoria, BC- November 2, 2021)

Thanks again Mother Nature!

Shelley Wilson


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