One summer day, near the 4th of August, I decided to take a walk in the woods of the back 40. I’d never been that deep into the thicketed terrain, as it was mucky in places, blackberry thorns would mean certain tears at skin or clothing, and there were rumors every so often of bears summering in it.
Despite the mugginess and sweltering heat – in Michigan, 90 is sweltering – I put on clothes that covered me from head to toe. My head had a bee-keeper mesh over it, long sleeves, thin leather gloves, denim jeans – the unfashionable, sturdy, hole-less kind – and rubber knee boots, just in case of muck patches. I also sprayed myself from head to toe with insect repellant. My phone was fully charged, and I sent a text to my sons, just in case, to let them know where I went. I turned on the locator option on the phone.
It was tortuous, picking my way through the denseness of the undergrowth. Squirrels scattered, and so did the birds. The occasional chickadee would dee dee dee. I must have gone about a block in, when ahead the darkness started to lighten. As I’d done a google map of the area back there, it was surprising because no open areas were noticed. I kept going, and it appeared that there was a clearing coming up. Also, strangely, I heard the music of flutes and drums.
I decided to move quietly forward, as my amygdala whirred into action. There was no telling what was going on back there, and I didn’t want to startle the participants.
At some point, there were just a few shrubs between me and the brightly sunlit opening. I crouched down and inched forward, as I could see some movement, although the shapes were as yet undistinguishable.
I stayed crouched and resting on my haunches, I slowly moved a shrub aside. There, I saw a procession of foxes, clothed in their best finery, moving to the rhythm of foxes playing their flutes and drums. The sun shone brightly on each. Towards the front of the procession were two dressed as bride and groom. Just as curious was that a shower of rain was falling. As I looked up I saw a triple rainbow within the falling drops, a prismatic accompaniment to this surreal spectacle.
My eyes rolled back into my head and a lightheartedness filled my being. I felt my soul leave and ascend, to join with the rainbows, just for a moment.
Based very loosely on an old Japanese fable.
This story is in homage to the great director, Akira Kurosawa, for the following segment in the magnificent film, Dreams.