Home growing up and home now means inhabiting the edge dividing land and sea. We go there to eat sandwiches in the cab of the truck, sheltered from the icy wind that lifts the waters of Barnstable Harbor into whitecaps. Beyond the water, the dunes of Sandy Neck glisten white with snow, the Handy shack popping out in dark relief. Before the first bite is taken, a flash of fur to the right. A fox, tiny, on the hunt, nose to snow, a few steps, another sniff, more steps, her footprints left behind in the layer of snow.
The markings join the other imprints of other creatures that have passed since the snow fell two nights ago, an extended exposure of all we never see.
She shifts to her right. She comes towards us, our truck gracing us a cloak of invisibility. She passes close by, and she’s gone.
It’s always a good time for Wendell Berry’s “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front,” but seeing her reminds me of it. A good reminder. A necessary refresher. I reread the whole thing, and I’d say you should too, but here’s the last bit:
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
And I am humming “Ouroboros” by Casey Neill and focusing in on the word “practice,” an active word, ongoing, if there ever was one.
#CapeCod #fox #BarnstableHarbor #WendellBerry #poetry #winter #resist #persist