When Foxes Cry

It’s always strange to be driving during the in-between time. Those few weird weeks when winter hasn’t fully surrendered her grip on these familiar flyover fields. And spring has yet to fully pounce in to freshen the world with newness.

The scraggly grass, filling median strips and clinging to shoulders, hasn’t completed its transition to a brighter lushness from the drab browns of a winter’s purge. The shadows of skeletal trees strobed across a broken highway, making the world jump and skitter at 78 miles an hour.

Indiana was well behind my tires. But I was still pushing hard north. The day had been a weird melange of emotion. One which would require a great many more miles to fully process and I was doing my best to make the grind of that requirement bearable.

The traffic lightened a bit. Familiar music was toothing blues out the car speakers. Fingers tapped on the wheel in time to music.  

I was a few miles south of Charlotte. Just inside the Golden Hour. And that’s when I saw him. The outline was unmistakable; his colors immediately pounced up from the greyness of battered Michigan concrete.

I pulled over and broke one of the cardinal rules of highway driving by backing up to where he lay at the side of the road.

He must have been hit recently. Because his body wasn’t cold. But neither was it warm. He was sadly caught in that final of in-between times.

I picked him up from the pavement and carried him under a pine tree sitting atop a slight rise. And there, with only an ice scraper and my bare hands, I dug him the best grave possible. Because fuck the cycle of life—he was too cherished to just leave for the scavengers to claim.

His fur was soft; his eyes were clear. The devastation of death had not yet fully taken hold. And in those final moments, he was still so fucking beautiful.

Unsure if the custom applies to foxes, I paid the ferryman on his behalf with the only coin I had in my possession. The one I have carried in my wallet for the better part of two years. The one I once thought lucky because of the memories. But now, it would have different ones attached to it.


I stroked his fur. Said some words. Words that are just for him and me. Words I will never tell a soul; words I will never write down.

As I sat cleaning my hands with post-pandemic hand wipes, I couldn’t help but to reflect on the significance of what I had just experienced. And in that reflection it was easy to see just how plainly that fox’s death represented the challenges of life.

How things can get messy and unpleasant, often in the blink of an eye. How you sometimes find yourself doing things you never imagined yourself doing. But you still have to deal with them. Because it’s the right fucking thing to do. And most of all, that memory of a beautiful fox reminded me of just how ridiculously fragile and temporary this all is.

I eventually said my goodbyes. Offered his spirit my apologies on behalf of our ever-encroaching hubris. And then I left him behind on that gentle rise of Michigan farmland.

Tears ran down a road weary face. Hands, still stained and torn from the dirt of the grave, shook on a steering wheel. I mourned for things long lost. And things freshly remembered.

It left me feeling even more unsettled than I had been at the beginning of the day. Because unexpectedly burying your spirit animal hits pretty fucking close to home. A home I suddenly realized I will never find. Because in those moments, I didn’t really want to be in Michigan. And I couldn’t go back to Indiana again. 

So I was stuck in an in-between time all of my own.

That stinging uncertainty made me want to run down to Mexico. Or fly away across a different ocean. But if I did that, I know that I would just end up on a different little hill. A little hill of big sorrows. Where I would claw at the earth with bare hands again, just to retrieve the warmth of her.

And I know that is not possible.

So I have to keep running.


I am
Swiftly I will run.
Stealthily I will chase.
Cleverly I will adapt
I am a hunter.
And I will survive.

About Typewriter Fox

...author, fighter, lover, typewriter fanatic, and unrepentant Fenian bastard. Known to few, hated by many, but still typing the good fight.

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