In Ilkestonb, Derbyshire, England, Jane and Phil Carter looked at their garden and what they filmed has been shared many times. A fox with only two front legs was walking about the garden as it looked for food. The fox appeared in good health and showed no signs of the awful mange from which many urban foxes suffer. After the video had been viewed many times, one wildlife expert stated that he had never seen anything like that, and he thought that the animal had most likely been born without hind legs.
In the days since I read about the two-legged fox, I have waited for a rebuttal telling how the video and photograph that I viewed is a fake, perhaps being altered by a computer expert to fool folks like me. But no such correction has emerged, so I am left to marvel at this animal’s resilience. I have begun referring to the fox as Carter in order to give it some additional identity and a reference for me.
Nature is a good teacher, if allowed to teach. But like in any classroom, a learner needs to focus on the lesson, which means all secondary interferences must be silenced. So, if one wants to learn from Nature, he or she needs to silence the cellphone and any other modern-day gadget. Then the learner must look, listen, and linger. In other words, stay put and observe and be patient for the lesson or lessons can come in various ways and places in nature. The nature classroom need not be a large one and even a small garden of flowers and shrubs offers lessons, but the student must come prepared to learn.
Since we have forty-two large long leaf pine trees in our front yard, I pick up pines cones most every day and a fair number of fallen branches. Many mornings as I tool about cleaning our yard, I am kept company by the chatter of Carolina chickadees as they flutter from tree to tree searching for bugs in between the bark of a tree. They create quite a volume that if I were listening to music or talking on my cell phone, I would not hear. But in the silence of our “forest” the chickadee chatter takes dominion and teaches me another lesson about the balance of nature in our small front yard: Long leaf pines and their heavy bark give space in which insects thrive which means the chattering chickadees have a food source. One small space teaching about balance in life.
And balance is what Carter has. Visualize a person balancing on his or her hands and you have a visual of Carter walking across the garden in Derbyshire. While I have asked many questions about this fox, such as how does it get up to its front legs without the use of hind ones, I let them go and just sit in awe of Carter.
So much in our world disfunctions because so many of us lack balance. The Ancient Greek Temple of Apollo at Delphi was inscribed with three maxims: “Know thyself,” “Nothing too much” and “Make a pledge and destruction is near.” They are quotations we should follow all these years later, in our minds as well as our souls. Yet so many of us don’t know or want to know ourselves while wanting or expecting too much as we pledge what cannot or should not be granted. If you doubt this just look at the present mess in the United States House of Representatives or Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
On the BBC site and others is a video the Carters made. However you view this marvelous animal—look, listen, linger, and learn. If Carter the fox can, then so can we.