Seeing foxes is a sporadic series on paying attention to the divine in the everyday, which was inspired by my good friend Austin and his blog.
A few mornings ago, after packing up my gear and scaling the driver's side of The Beast, I revved up the engine and started down the winding road connecting our neighborhood with our babysitter's neighborhood. The road is a long country one that dead ends just a couple blocks from our house on one end, and right in the center of the Ardmore neighborhood on the other. Ardmore is a fascinating area, full of small businesses and fantastic bungalows and restaurants and a huge number of medical offices, but it also shows its age and evolution in some places where houses have become run down or partitioned and rented to less than savory tenants.
There's a dairy farm on that road that's visible from the top of the hill in our backyard. A few months ago, the cows were put in an adjoining pasture, and earth movers started demolishing the gently rolling hills. I worried. But then, a sign was put up. An elementary and a middle school were being built on the land. If we're still in this house when the time comes, those will be Ethan's schools.
Although development is happening, there's still a lot of open land and a couple of horse farms between there and the small, old intersection--the first on that road between our house and Ardmore--that suggests a history of a one-stoplight town. There's a church with a cemetery on one corner, a dog groomer's and a biker bar on another, a junky "antiques" store on the third, and a gas station across from the church.
My favorite part of my morning drive is that small stretch between the schools and the first intersection. The land is still wide open, there's a stream and a pond with willows weeping into it, and the horses. My first genuine experience with horses was freshman year of college, when I went to my roommate's family horse farm in Smyrna, in the countryside of middle Tennessee. I rode a black horse, part Clydesdale and gentle in temperament, named Sam. One evening we took the horses out to the training ring. Sam and I sat watching my roommate put her horse through a number of exercises. I lay back on Sam's enormous body and watched the stars. A satellite passed, and I could see it's path for almost a minute. I'd never seen the sky like that before. When the satellite disappeared, I nearly cried.
Ethan and I rode along pleasantly, him occasionally pointing out the window and chattering in his baby language about the things he saw, wanted me to see. As we came upon the horse farm, two of the chestnut quarter horses came charging toward the fence along the road. Abruptly they stopped, turned, and raced each other back to the far side of the field, galloping and whinnying along the length of the pasture. Enjoying a morning of sunshine, after four days of rain.