Living in a wooded area next to a forest reserve, blighted only by
man’s insatiable desire for roads for his mechanical beasts and pylons
to carry his thirst for electricity, we none the less frequently see a
number of foxes.

They live not far away and though they only cross alone in front of
the house occasionally, one can easily imagine young litters playing
and running among rocks and brush. Foxes and vixen, old and young are
certainly there, all quite beautiful.

On one point all appears clear. While human creatures live in a world
where vision is of primary importance, foxes do not. We know that they
are basically nocturnal animals and that their eyes are accustomed to
night vision, rather like a cat’s, but a fox has no true macula and is
unable to focus on a stationary target for more than a few seconds. So
if we are quite, quite still, we can watch them.

However, they are capable of picking up the slightest movement far
quicker than a cat and their sense of smell is phenomenal. A fox is
equipped to smell and discriminate almost everything. It can detect
the different states of water, differences in earth, grass, shrubs,
trees, and all at a distance. All depends, however on the movement of
air. A slight breeze is enough. That is why it almost always moves
upwind on important forays.

One surprising thing is that it needs a moist nose in order to detect
wind direction. Do you remember as a child, how you moistened your
finger and held it up to the wind to discover the wind direction? The
fox is essentially using the same system.

In fact, it is supersensitive, being far more refined than a dog. They
can make the noise of an injured bird to snare the mother and can even
climb some trees. Remarkable creatures, yet we seem to either ignore
them or hunt them.

However, there is one great danger when it comes to trying to help them.

A neighbor who is enamored of animals sets out food for them every
morning and they come singly from their lairs to pick up the tasty
morsels of chicken and grain.

Yet we must examine this kindness. Gradually, what these kind people
are doing is setting up a new hunting pattern in which the new
generations do not have to use the old hunting skills. They are making
it too easy for the foxes.

In bad weather, when hunting is difficult for birds and the like, we
can scatter crumbs about which they must find or go hungry. This is a
form of acting so as not to debilitate natural aptitude.

There is an important lesson here for us to learn, not only in respect
to these precious animals and all other natural creatures, but in our
own social comportment. We are making life just too easy and too

Where is the child that makes his own tanks from matchsticks and
cotton reels?  Where is the child who uses a dustbin lid as a battle
shield or makes his own bow  arrows and catapults?

Where is the child that, with his or her mother, makes the Halloween
costumes and Christmas decorations?

Kindness and folly is killing our imaginations and much more.

Kindness can kill.


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