Jul 16, 2012
(For Gay Bradshaw)
(With thanks to Eric Bégin)
Calvin Luther Martin , PhD (Summer 1993)
What did the fox pup cry as it was struck by the motorist in the night? And did the driver of that machinery of convenience think to stop, kneel and watch the green fire go out of its eyes, I wonder?
Where do the fires of wildness go, and might they ever enter our calculations of necessity?
Questions we seem loath to answer.
Death in this manner is unavoidable in this murderous place. This is the horror: the pitiless logic of atrocious acts. Evil is most monstrous when most banal—when they say it cannot be helped. What kind of dream is this civilization that makes us think so? Is man no longer sapient?
The cry it gave in death I imagine was but a universal plea for comfort. Surely our kind can will the mind into that fuller realm of compassion embracing both earth and our uncomprehended selves.
I learned this when I heard, I swear it, the voice of fox come round again that morning. When I heard “We must stop,” quietly, decisively, from the physician who says children most resemble animals. And we did.
I watched her lift the limp smashed body from off the burning road to lay it by the river. There singing, she did, of beauty and trotting and sniffing for mice and moles. There to ask the keeper of foxes to rekindle the fire in yet another furnace of fox persuasion. There to leave tobacco with a softly furred trotter whose keeper I too must surely be.
Ceremony of infinite innocence. “I can be a frog or a fox and still be a person,” someone who knew creation’s etiquette once said. So obvious, so unavoidable.
Compassion. Surely this is what the earth seeks most in us, the very thing we crave ourselves.
Somewhere in man’s primordial darkness away beyond intelligent grasp the shapeshifter arises consoled, requickened by the voice of the truly great physician.