An Artist's Quest

Finding Enchantment & Foxes in the Thin Places

Kits in their storm drain den and their Momma right before being released

This week at The Bishop’s Ranch, where nature and human industry embrace, a wonderful discovery was made, a family of foxes.  For those of you who have never visited the Ranch it is surrounded on three and a half sides with farm industry.  To the North and much of the West is a 600 head dairy farm.  Lucky for us it’s an organic dairy but it still has the same dust and bustle of any such business.  To our East and Southern flanks are big business grape vineyards.  These mega farms have mechanical trimmers and sprayers and later harvesters going 24 hours a day.  And here we sit, something of an oasis, an in between place, 15 acres of buildings and grounds designed for respite, reflection and restoration.  There is a sliver of land to the South that reaches westward and these approximately 350 Ranch acres remain relatively wild. Trails meander through the land with a few bridges to help the human wander through this zigzag watershed of winter creeks and streams.   So I consider the Ranch a thin place.  A thin place between nature and human endeavors and a thin place where the spirit can reach through, and magical, spiritual, enchanting things can happen.  So finally I get to the foxes.  Last weekend a couple of little girls were observed peering down a drainage grate, dropping raisins down oohing and ahhing with every plop.  They had discovered in their meandering through the Ranch a magical thing, three kit foxes curled up with the midday sun directly above them, securely protected three feet from the surface by a heavy metal grate.  Here in this in between place, the mother fox had taken refuge, and ironically found the perfect home in the rain drains running under the cottage circle.  There her kits are protected (even with the crazy bustle of pool construction going on over head) she has safe passage in and out and even water at one end.  You see two of the kits pictured above in their “den” peering up perhaps hoping for more raisins from heaven.  The momma fox (or so we speculate) was caught in the live traps set out for the raccoons by the garbage cans.  She was quickly released and seen dashing directly to her wee kits a few hundred yards away.  And so refuge and respite is here at The Bishop’s Ranch in this thin place, this in-between place, for foxes and humans to experience wonder and enchantment in lots of places and ways including a storm drain with a box of raisins.

Lot’s of art is newly posted on my website so check it out: http://lisathorpe.com

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5 responses

  1. Val

    I love foxes. We had an influx in our neighborhood after last summer’s drought, and saw one rather unhappy fox in a front yard trap waiting for release. Can we expect a fox to show up somewhere in your art soon?

    May 18, 2012 at 9:21 am

  2. Jane

    Thin places are indeed special places of refuge. They are so precious and yet so easily overlooked and missed.
    As my life is becoming even crazier than usual with wedding preparations, I am trying to take a few minutes each day grab a little time in a thin place. I’m not a morning person yet I have found that the need to water potted plants I’m trying to beautify the garden with for the various wedding gatherings is forcing me up a little earlier than usual. (I have found if I do not do it first thing I forget!) The gentle sun of the early morning and the pre neighborhood construction quiet and the simplicity of this task have created our deck into an unexpected thin place. I have found a time to connect with our wondrous creator that well intentioned human interruptions cannot steal.
    Keep an eye open for those hidden thin places and enjoy!

    May 21, 2012 at 8:44 am

    • I like your idea of finding those thin places close at hand, a good reminder.

      May 24, 2012 at 10:03 am

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