We like to tease and say that PJ has his own sunroom . . . and he does. He has a fireplace in it and windows on three sides. All he has to do is walk a few paces through the office area, hop up on the back of the sofa, relax, and watch the neighborhood birds, cats, squirrels, skunks, coyotes, and deer mingle across his property. That’s the list of wild critters that I know about so far. (Critters is a word my grandmother used and one that has been reborn in my life while living here.) A couple of weeks ago a neighbor was talking to me and started smiling and then laughing over something she remembered. I had been telling her that at night I heard coyotes howling in the distance, and I hoped they did not come too close to the house.

She sort of giggled, and I suddenly knew it was about to happen again—I was going to hear a story about some wild animal that would totally freak me out. Sure enough, I wasn’t disappointed. She began to tell me how usually every spring a family of fox set up shop, or in this case home, in the drainage covert at the bottom of my property. “You wouldn’t believe it,” she smiled to which I wanted to reply: Try me; I bet I will.

“Every time someone would drive by their den,” she broke up with laughter, “they would poke their little heads out to see what was going on. (more laughter) They were the cutest things.”

“I have dogs,” I said slowly, “and little foxes grow up to be big foxes!”

“Oh, I know,” she gave my arm a reassure touch, “but the babies are so cute!”

I didn’t know whether to join her in laughing or to break down and cry. I guess there is really only one thing I can do and that is to pick up where Jack London left off and write . . . .