Monday, May 31, 2010


I spent the first two days of the Memorial Day weekend leading a Story workshop at a local retreat center with a glorious weeping beech and a family of red foxes. I noticed the foxes trotting along a path, in my direct line of sight through the window, as I spoke on Saturday about those shiverish riffs of synchronicity when we feel a Trickster element in play.

During the lunch break that day, I took a walk and was delighted to see the red foxes reappear right in front of me, on the grassy verge of the drive. They were a mother with her two kits. They let me get very close before one of the kits got skittish and vanished. The second kit cocked his head, twitched his nose and then - as I took a few more slow paces forward - vanished too. The mother stood her ground, studying me closely. Then she began to move up the slope of the green hill, very slowly, looking back frequently to check that I was watching her and not going after the kits.

I stepped off the drive to see where the kits had gone, and saw the culvert of a storm drain, a useful bolthole, at least in dry weather. The mother was now frozen in place, watching me from between the trunks of a couple of aspens. When she was sure she had my full attention, she loped up the slope and trotted along the crest of the hill, again looking back to make sure I was watching.

That evening, my youngest daughter, hearing about my recent computer problems, asked if I would like her to have a go at cleaning up my computer. Sure. Half an hour later, when she was done, I was amused to see that (without consulting me) she had installed Mozilla Firefox as my new default browser.

On Sunday morning, the second day of the Story workshop, I invited the group to call up a dream or a story and make a very quick drawing, with crayons or colored pencils, that they could show and speak around. The most colorful drawing was produced by an artist in the group, using oil crayons. It showed a flames leaping up from a firepit, and above it a red fox trotting along a hill. The artist titled her picture "Firefox". She did not know about my daughter installing Firefox on my computer the previous night, which has put the image of a red fox on my screen, right next to the start button.


Don said...

That is a delightful story, Robert. Although many people would say that synchronicity is "only a coincidence," I think has meaning. Since the fox is often taken to indicate cleverness perhaps your synchronous connections with the fox suggests your cleverness, or something clever that you have recently done or will do. Only you can determine that. It strikes me as very favorable synchronicity, in any case.

Robert Moss said...

Thanks, Don. Yes, it felt like a happy and promising run of coincidence to me. I've had many red fox encounters in my life, and some brought a rather "edgy" feeling. Not this one, however. It's worth noting that the fox occupies a rather special place in the belief systems and shamanic traditions of many peoples. While in China and Japan, possession by a "fox spirit" has been held to be a real threat and the source of strange behavior and mental aberration, in Old Europe the fox was a preferred ally of the shaman. The oldest physical evidence of a European shaman that we know is the remains of a woman interred - in a vault constructed of mastodon bones - in what is now the Czech Republic, some 30,000 years back. In her right hand she grips the vestiges of a red fox.