It’s hard to sleep when the neighbors’ drama is happening outside your bedroom window at 2:45 a.m.
The noise that woke me wasn’t all that loud, but it was clearly the sound of someone in distress. When it was repeated, I put on my glasses and peeked through the window, trying to be quiet enough for my spying to go undetected.
The sounds were coming from the left, outside of my field of vision. But in the light of a moon that was either half full or half empty, I made out a vague shape just below the window. When it moved, I could see that it was a fox, also focused on the sounds. It started toward the noise, came back, watched a bit more until the sounds stopped, and then ran silently off toward the right with its tail flowing behind it.
After a few more uneventful minutes, I settled back into bed. Apparently whatever had happened out there in the dark was some variation on the circle of life. Or, more precisely, the circle of life and death. Somebody, on a night of good fortune, got to have breakfast. Somebody else, less fortunate, got to be breakfast. Apparently the fox, like me, was only an observer.
This assumption was confirmed when I went for a walk later in the morning. Starting at the corner of our property, following along and then across the road, was a trail of blood drops.
After this little life-and-death drama had played out, it took me a long time to get back to sleep. When I did, I dreamed that a troop (herd? mob? barrel?) of monkeys broke into the house and ate all my bananas. At 6:00 a.m., I woke up to another mysterious noise, which turned out to be my stomach growling.
Thankfully, it was a day when I was one of the fortunate ones who got to have breakfast. I didn’t even have to hunt for or kill it first. And the only unfortunates whose lot it was to be breakfast (besides the banana—thank goodness, the monkeys were only a dream), were the hapless goobers that had been ground into my peanut butter.
I hope the fox was equally fortunate.