All the fields around the house drain into a creek that runs between the house and the road. At our end of the drive, the north bank of the creek is wooded, low and flat. The driveway follows these woods from our house down to the road. At the other end, where the driveway reaches the road, the woods give way to tall grasses. After a period of heavy rain, the ground becomes saturated, and the creek floods. When the creek floods, shallow water quickly spreads through the woods at our end and across the grassy area at the other end. This end of the driveway usually doesn’t flood, but the part near the road often floods. It’s never truly unpassable, but it gets close. A few years ago Eric built a wooden walkway and a footbridge, so that we can get through the woods and across the creek whenever it floods like this.
So yesterday, Grandpa Jim and Grandma Carol came to visit from Alabama, and while they were here, there was a heavy rainstorm. When the rain stopped, the woods near the house were entirely flooded with at least 3 inches of flowing creek water. Brownie and I walked down the driveway to see how just badly the driveway had flooded. (It had.)
On the way back — splash! Brownie heard something in the woods and took off after it, right into the flood water. I see a flash of something furry. I was hoping it was a deer, but Brownie cornered it in the flooded woods, and I could hear lots of barking and growling.
Grandpa Jim and I walked down the Eric’s boardwalk to see if we could get a look at the dog. No luck. Up on the bridge? Couldn’t see anything there either. I was getting worried about Brownie, so I jumped off the walkway into the floodwater (“Watch out for snakes!” Jim yelled. “I hope you don’t have any water snakes around here!”) and then up onto the Arborgeddon logs that fill the woods, toward the dog.
Brownie had cornered something in a rosebush. (Floribunda Rose. Invasive. The only kind that grows in our yard.) It was grey, with a pointed nose and ears. At first I thought it was a coyote but it seemed too small — about the size of a large terrier. Now I think it was a grey fox, which is the right size and coloring. Poor thing was miserable, standing in 3 inches of floodwater with a large dog running around it, snapping at it and running away just so she could charge back at it.
After about 10 minutes of futilely trying to catch the dog, while Jim yelled about snakes and swamps in the background, and asking if I needed anything that Eric could fetch, the fox made a break for it, right past Jim. Jim said the fox ran through the flood and over the walkway. Brownie came by a few seconds later, but had lost track of the fox. She ran over the bridge, then jumped into the flooded creek. The creek itself is at least three feet deep, and fast, during these floods. Jim said she got caught in a bush, got loose, climbed out of the creek, ran back through the flood then over the bridge, and jumped into the flooded creek again.
When we finally caught her, Jim said “When she got stuck in the bush, she looked at me as if to say “get me out, I’m stuck!” but she got on her own. I thought she was a pretty smart dog..until I saw her jump back into that same creek.”