Late Winter Wonders

FoxTales features guest posts by characters from the magical fiction novel, Because Of The Red Fox. This post is written by Annie Wakefield-Browne, cousin to Shell Wakefield (protagonist of the book).

Hi! I’m Annie, and I’m super-excited to be writing to you today. Let me tell you about some of our day, and maybe you’ll tell us about yours.

First off, it’s been crazy rainy and windy at times for the past few days, and hail the size of peas spat down this afternoon. Okay, so it hasn’t been as windy as it was about six years ago. (Folks on the island always talk about that storm if you bring up a topic about wind and rain. You can read what Jane had to say about it in her Wise Child Learning blog post, Thunderbird Takes Wing)

But the hail spat like bee-bees from a bee bee gun onto the backs of the ducks in the poultry yard. Oh, they were so confused for a bit, but eventually waddled under shelter.

Near sunset, though, I wandered  out into the field to my favorite Hawthorn tree–she’s kind of like a great-aunt to me, or an elder friend. Anyway, I stopped by to say hello, and I noticed that all kinds of lichen lay on the grasses, blown off by the wind, I guess.  Tomorrow I think I might collect some of the lichen for Jane (you know, the writer of our book, Because Of The Red Fox). I think she’d like to make some medicine from lichen, from Usnea, because of its amazing anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.

Hawthorn In Winter - photo by Jane Valencia (c) 2013
Hawthorn In Winter – photo by Jane Valencia (c) 2013

Oh, I bet Aunt Elinn, Shell’s mom, would like some too, because she’s an herbalist–well, I’d call her a green witch. That’s really a better term for what she does.

As I wandered about, noting the Usnea, I started noticing the trails along the edge of the field, close to the blackberry and the woods. Wow! There’s a regular highway along the edges of fields, and lots of turn-offs where the animals lunge into the shrubs. Little tunnels are everywhere in the hedges, if you stop to look.

Who makes these paths?

I found a pile of droppings — deer droppings, I think — near one tunnel that seemed to slice through between some pokey holly. If that tunnel is big enough for a deer, it’s big enough for me! I pushed past the holly and …

… and found myself in an amazing secret place! No one would ever, ever find me if I decided to make this my own private shelter, my own private teahouse even. Well, the deer might find me if they decide to pass through, but I could just crouch by one of the cypress hidden away here, and just think my own thoughts.

… mmm!

I pushed back out of my secret hideaway (it’s really just a pocket of a place been our field and a neighbor’s yard, and then wandered a little further.

By now the grass was glowing green with hidden sunset (the sky was filled with low gray clouds). And down the trail the old apple trees were dancing.

Well, not like they were up and moving. But that’s what they looked like and that’s how they seemed.

And that was my sunset!

So tell me. What do you notice at the edges of your yard or a nearby field , or the edges of any outdoor place? Are there trails, tiny or large? Who or what do you think uses them? Where do they go? Do you notice any tunnels?

Do you have a secret hideaway, right where you are?

Thanks for reading! Good night!

What *Does* The Fox Say?

(In this post, two characters from the children’s fantasy novel, Because Of The Red Fox, have their say)

Shell: Shell Wakefield, here. I’m, uh, the main character in this book that just came out that tells about a very unusual day (and night) in my life. Wow, it feels really weird to type this! I mean, how would you feel if someone started writing about your life, and then made it into a book?

Anyway, folks who know about my story have been telling me I have to see this music video that’s gone viral. The music video is called The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?) by a Norwegian comedy duo called Ylvis. They are two brothers named  Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker (Bard? Wow, that’s a coincidence!). You probably all know about this video.

Yesterday I finally watched it. It’s a totally fun and whacky video! Then I got Leaves to watch it with me, and he started dancing in the woods … just like all the bard foxes do in our book. Bard foxes! And in fact, I think those folks dancing in the woods with the singers are the bard foxes!

And then Leaves said he had to have a chat with Tony the Pony, but that Santa (my cousin) should bring her ham radio, and transmit what he says in Morse code, since she knows Morse code, thanks to being an Amateur Radio Operator and all (that’s in our book too).

So I have this crazy, funny feeling when I think about The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?), because some of it feels very familiar, like it could have come out of our story, Because Of The Red Fox. Leaves is a mystery, after all. And he watches over me. sort of, and then there’s this angel bird feather I have … Really, it’s all in our book.

What do you think, Leaves? What does the fox say?

Leaves: Wa-wa-way-do, of course! What does the fox say? Our book has everything to say about what I say! Even so, this video does indeed shed a little extra light onto moi, and my way with words.

Shell: Hm! You don’t say!

Leaves: And on you as well. In the video, isn’t that Bert the Gamesmaster reading to you as a little child? And there’s that hound …. And that elephant person at the beginning has to be the Green Knight in disguise.

Shell: That’s stretching it, Leaves! Maybe. … So, it’s weird to be in a book that’s published. But it’s even weirder to see elements of our tale in a video that’s been viewed by millions! Leaves, you are an ancient mystery.

Leaves: So are you, Shell!

Shell: I have a feeling we all are, including you, dear Readers. Anyway, check out the video, read our book (or the other way around), and let us know what you have to say!