It’s a good time of year for seeing fox cubs. They’re large enough now to be out of the den, and large enough to be easier to spot. I’ve had a couple of recent encounters with a fox family, and they’ve been delightful.
Young creatures learn by messing about and experimenting. Watching them, what they do can seem incredibly joyful and playful, and I think perhaps it is. This same curiosity, joy and experimentation will kill many of them before their first year of life is through. Mortality rates are always high for young creatures.
Humans don’t help with that. Our cars especially, are killers, and the opportunities to learn from experience and not die, are few. The rest of nature kills and eats, dies by accident and scavenges, and that which doesn’t make it becomes food for something else. We’ve set ourselves up to be outside of that, and what we do takes a massive toll on the rest of the living world, which cannot adapt fast enough to reliably cope with us.
Meantime, the fox cubs are cheerfully oblivious to all of this. They are too busy being alive, and curious and excited. They live with every fibre of their beings. If they are afraid of what they must deal with, then they show no obvious signs of it. From where I stand, it seems like a kind of innocence, and perhaps it is. I could wish for that brightness and enthusiasm, for the innate joy that pounces on life with all of its paws, and either doesn’t know that it may not live long, or does not much care.