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January 21, 2001
Two Foxes Caught in the Act


While we slept Saturday night, it snowed, and we woke up this morning to a blinding white blanket. So we went to Hains Point, once again.

All other times I'd been there I'd confined myself to the shoreline road, but this time we ventured inland, toward the grounds of the golf course, seeing how there were no golfers in sight. It was warm by the deserted clubhouse, a mustard-colored structure with Greek columns and vending machines; its walls soaked up the sunlight and shielded us from the biting wind. Two ravens, perched on a ledge, were basking in the building's warmth, croaking and taking turns swaying up and down, like two kids riding a see-saw.

As we walked south, the wind started cutting through our jackets. We were plowing down the middle of a wide clearing surrounded by trees, with dips on the green now swollen with snow, and it felt like a forest, but if you listened you could hear, in the distance, planes taking off from the airport across the river, the metro coming out of the earth like a silver worm to drop people off at Arlington National Cemetery or cross the Potomac before burrowing back under, and cars. Just pull your hat down, and turn into the wind, though, and it was just that plus the crunch of snow sticking to your shoes with each step, revealing brownish green grass underneath.

Over a mound with a flagpole, and there they were, two foxes, under the canopy of what looked like a willow (but do they go yellow without shedding when the season turns?)

Foxes under a tree

They nuzzled awhile, and then suddenly got serious, their movements getting faster and faster as swirls of wind threw snow at them from all sides.

Overcome by passion

In the aftermath, they faced a problem that is known to all kids who've grown up in countries where there are a lot of stray dogs.

Houston, we have a problem

I left them there to sort it all out, hoping they'd be OK.

We'll be fine, really...

"I'm sorry," the guy at the Washington Post Metro desk said, "but unfortunately it's not a very slow news day. With Dubya's coronation festivities and all. Do you have a picture of one of the foxes biting the President?"

"No," I replied, "but the male fox was this close to humping Jenna Bush's leg."

"How close?"

"Um. Less than a mile?"

"I'm sorry," he said, again.

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