The road is a pale sandy track through the trees, easy under foot. The bear walks with me. We go easy, not talking much, just following the road.
Turning a bend we find a big red fox sitting in the middle of the way, looking back at us. He doesn’t speak, he doesn’t move. We stop. I’m not sure how to approach this bold creature. We watch each other a moment.
I wonder what he might have to say to me. I can’t think what to ask.
After a bit, the fox gets up and turns to face the direction we are headed. “I’ll walk with you a ways,” he says, looking back at us over his shoulder. And so we fall in together, the bear on my left, the fox on my right, we go on.
The woods are riddled with spots of sun, like suspended confetti. There is a lot going on in there, the leaves full of chatter and scurry. I wonder if maybe we shouldn’t leave the road and strike off through the wood in search of adventure. Maybe we should be looking for something, maybe we should be gathering something.
The fox says, “No. Stick to the road.” The bear concurs.
And so we go on in companionable silence, making unmarkable progress. Somewhere up ahead there is water. Somewhere there is a gathering of people and all that that promises. But we’re not there yet. For now we are just walking easy. For now we are sticking to the road.