Jet Foxes

Posted to Wundee on 14 Mar 2001
This account was written by naturalist J. David Henry.

"...after 40 minutes of waiting, the jet finally lumbered out onto 
the runway, taxied into position, and jarred to a halt. More delays.
I did not want to think about my breakneck efforts to make the plane
or about the enforced wait, so I continued to watch the snow until
just past the tip of its wing, where the pavement meets the grass, a
small dog emerged from the blizzard. Someone's pet, I thought
quizzically. A loyal dog trying to follow its master? Not a dog at 
all, it was a fox. The snow let up for a moment, and I could see its
luxuriant brush tipped with white and its ember-red coat flecked with
   The animal pranced back and forth on the edge of the pavement
barking at the aircraft; the engines revved, the brakes cracked, and
the jet started down the tarmac. At that moment the fox leaped 
forward and began to gallop down the runway... the fox raced away 
from the plane, tail floating straight behind it... the plane gained
momentum; the snow was being driven straight across the ground now,
and yet the animal kept it up, running faster and faster...
   Slowly the jet gained on the fox and gradually swept by it, and the
fox, still sprinting, dropped behind and out of my view. I sat back as 
the jet continued to gain speed and finally lifted off. Once in the
air, the plane banked to the right, and I looked out the window and
down at the ground. Far below me I could barely make out a small, red,
earthbound creature who was making its way back to the head of the
runway where another jet waited. As the plane entered the clouds, I
leaned back and thought about why it was that dogs chase cars while
red foxes chase jet airplanes."

Joel T.