Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario


Image courtesy Sue Nielsen, an extraordinary photographic talent and long-time Cobalt resident. Thanks for permission to use the image, Sue!

Back in July I wrote about the lessons I learned from a Reiki practitioner regarding power animals, or totems. To explain, the teacher said to pay attention to the little voices, to the signs, to the elements that repeat. For example, you might hear several references to “fox.” In images, in real life, the name of a radio station, foxy lady, that sort of thing. If there is a lesson, she said that it may not be immediately apparent, but with time, and often in hindsight, you will understand.

My totems are crow, horse, and frog. But these days, now that I live in Cobalt, another creature steals the limelight. The aforementioned, one might suggest “afore-shadowed,” Fox.

Fox is legend around these parts. McKinnley and Darragh may have been first to find silver, but the more romantic version of the discovery steals the limelight. That’s the story of Fred LaRose, a blacksmith for the railroad. He threw a hammer at a pesky fox that happened by the forge one day. The hammer struck a glancing blow on the outcrop and, lo and behold, Fred found silver.

Actually, there was no fox. But Fred did dabble in prospecting in his free time. About a month after McKinley and Darragh made their find, Fred also discovered a pink stain on a rock, an indicator of silver. One thing led to another, and before long, the place was crawling with prospectors and geologists. The silver rush was on.

But the story of fox persists and he has been elevated to iconic status for the town of Cobalt. His image appears on the centennial coin. The first exhibit you encounter when you enter the Cobalt Mining Museum is an homage to the critter.

At our house, hardly a day goes by when we don’t see or smell signs of a fox. Since the former owners used to feed the fox, we are on its hunting route. Every now and again, when I’m seated at the window, one will trot on by, maybe pause to take in the scenery. I don’t blame him, it’s a great view.

So, as far as power animals go, is Fox one of the gang?

Well, I sure do need Fox’s cunning and problem-solving abilities these days. The other morning as we watched the kittens gamboling in the field, fox was also watching. We managed to chase it off. Twice. He returned in the evening, and again, Reiner was there to frighten him away.

Both of us are extremely anxious for the kittens’ safety, but we cannot get close enough to catch them. It’s been hellish on the emotions.

One morning, I was standing on guard at the window, deep in my fantasies:  I encountered fox sneaking up on the cats and I lunged just in the nick of time and grabbed him by the tail and flung him away. I was so involved in my heroic thoughts that even though I was aware that Reiner had joined me at the window, I flinched and yelped when he reached out to hug me.

Just now, as I paused in my writing, we had yet another “pros and cons” discussion whether we’d adopt them when we finally catch them. (You will note the optimistic lack of the word “if” as in “if we catch them.”)

The answer is “yes,” but they will be outdoor cats.

By way of “so far so good” and “please say your prayers,” here are some shots from the back deck. Some of you suggested that they’d be at our door before long. I’m here to say, you were right!

Categories: In Other News

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45 replies

  1. You what??? You picked up a fox by the scruff of his neck?! Oh, Maggie..what is the Daily Prompt today? Homage. Yes, I pay homage to you ’cause I have never heard of anyone picking up a fox….and throwing it, no less. Wow.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. They are beautiful! Happy you are adopting them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. With that kind of welcome mat, I think I’d be at your door, too. Within walking distance from our house is an area known as “Fox Hollow.” We assumed it was an old name that had stuck around as the houses were built, but we still do see the occasional fox roaming around.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You have endless real life entertainment right outside of your door! I think these kittens are pretty smart and it won’t be long before they let you touch them – it reminds me of that old expression ‘they know which side of their bread is buttered’ 🙂
    The fox is a worry though and I understand why you are concerned. I hope that he gets the message and realizes these 2 are off limits.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Do you think that the kittens are visiting anyone else for food? It may be harder to actually get them to stay around if they have a smorgasbord to eat from on any given day, which leads to greater worry about the fox, or other predators…:(

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Deb – that’s a good question. We do have a neighbour about a half city block away, but that’s via a very overgrown and thorny route. Plus, he has dogs. I don’t think they’ve ventured beyond our yard, but that’s just a guess. Other than that, we are a half kilometer away from the next house.

      Speaking of other predators – I noticed fresh bear poop on the outcrop only 20 paces from the back door. Welcome to the North!


  6. Well outdoor cats or not, they’re splendid and I enjoy seeing your photos of them. I hope they stay safe.
    Maggie Wilson, Fox Wrangler! lol

    As an aside, when we lived in Georgia we had many playground parks on post, and we called them pine tree park, pond park, rock park, cross the street park, and fox park — all of them are pretty self-explanatory and easy for kids to say, as opposed to General John David McBlah park. The fox park was because we did always see lil red foxes there the first year.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love Foxes, I really love Wolves, they are my spirit animal.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You wrestled with a fox? Whose the foxy lady? YOU are!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You outfoxed fox once to save the cats , but it may be an endless task . Good luck ! ( I sound like a fortune cookie .)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Dan. We remain vigilant. Reiner noticed that the second fox had a light coat and was smaller than the first. Our neighbour a half km away tells us there’s a den at the rear of their property.

      Thanks for the fortune cookie smiles!


  10. Very interesting post Maggie, and the posts you referred to elsewhere. Would be very interested to read more about totem animals, either from yourself or from someone you could recommend, if that’s possible. Thanks and best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Denzil – I’m glad and understand that you feel compelled to explore this aspect of the natural and spiritual realm. I don’t have a particular reference to share, but if you Google on “power animal” or “spirit animal” or “animal totem” you will find many resources.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Maggie, I actually began there, but quickly got overwhelmed. It’s sometimes easier to start with a recommended article or post. Never mind, I’ll give it another go. Best wishes!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I can see why you’d be nervous about having foxes around those kittens. Once they grow a bit, I think the foxes will just leave them alone. Meanwhile thanks for taking care of them!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The kittens remain adorable – but they’re kittens, so that’s what they do. I’ll add my hopes that they survive the predatory wildlife you’ve got running around up there.

    Kittens and foxes and bears…OH MY.

    Ironic that I live in a city that has the Fox River cutting through it, no?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh my gosh, they are the cutest little things ever! Can he enclose it so it will be a catio? Cats love catios and then they will be safe from all the bad things outside (including bad humans). My friend who also have six cats (like me haha) has a catio, and it’s so wonderful.


  14. I predict that in the not-too-distant future, we’ll be reading a post about your two new inside cats. Just saying…


  15. I enjoyed reading about animal totems. I had never thought about it before, in spite of living a large part of my life around animals. Where I live now, we don’t see foxes much. They are here, but are shy of human contact. Our predator neighbors are coyotes, hawks and owls. I hope the kittens stay safe and eventually adopt you. Cats are pretty good about knowing at good deal when they see it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Liz. I hadn’t thought about it either until that day. This in spite of the fact that as a girl, I learned about totem poles and First Nations reverence toward nature.

      As for the kitties: two weeks ago tomorrow and they are still here! Both are accepting ear scritches and bum pats. Hubby allowed the more adventurous one into the house this morning. In other news, saw fox AND raccoon and two kits last night just down the road. That’s the nature report!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Fascinating. I used to want to be called a foxy lady, but of course I had no idea why. I’ve heard of power animals, but have never discovered what mine could be. While he was alive, my golden Henry was my power animal. A handsome golden-haired male who loved me beyond reason and would do anything I asked of him. Particularly if I held a treat in my hand. 🙂 We have coyotes around here, not foxes. Perhaps coyote could be my spirit animal…?
    Good luck with your sweet kittens – I think they belong to you now….

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I like the idea that animals appear in your life to teach you something at the very moment when you need to be taught. As for foxes, while I appreciate their skills and the beauty of their coats, they scare me. Those teeth. Those claws. I dunno, if I’d like knowing that I was in need of fox energy. Something for me to think about, while I get the warm fuzzies about those kitten pics.

    Liked by 1 person


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