1. secret maneuvering
2. high-spirited activity
derivation : Irish expression sionnachuighim - "I play the fox"
It was the middle of June, and the Summer blizzard came upon us quite unexpectedly. It seems to be the way of nature, to whip up one's plans with the wind, scattering them to the four corners, and then to reveal upon the weary traveler many unlooked for experiences of great beauty.
And so it was that day - we had intended to hike the flowered mountains under an endless blue sky, but our reality became so much more than that: a limb-numbing cold, and swirls of snowflakes creating a hide-and-seek game with the landscape. One moment of visibility unveils a waterfall, rampaging through rocks and pine trees, another moment hides the scene behind a grey mist that falls into oblivion below. It instilled a kind of laughable joy in me, to see the spring flowers dusted with snow, and to think that we were so lucky as to see this anomalous weather.
SYMBOLISM | SNOW IN SUMMER
Snow and frost will bring an end to plant life, but from the white ashes of winter, a new world is born, and thus snow can be seen as a purification - a cleaning out of the old year and ushering in the new. Spring snow, too, represents that new life, and new beginnings. But snow in summer is something else. It is a mischief of the skies, an unexpected moment. Each flake meeting the green land in a blessing from above.
And then, entering the path ahead of us, was a fox. She seemed unperturbed by our closeness. So agile and ethereal - like a wisp of a dream, I watched her till she disappeared into the white veil of the weather. Had I not taken a picture, I might have believed the whole thing to be a hallucination, brought on by the rising cold in my uncovered legs and arms.
SYMBOLISM | THE FOX
The fox has always been a symbol of mystery - of the wilderness untamed. Of hidden things and subtlety, and the ability to hide oneself. Of feminine energies, and the wisdom of one's own counsel.
Certain groups of Native American warriors would wear a fox skin, the head of the fox covering their own, so as to imbibe the wisdom of the animal in all its secrecy and cunning. Druids of the north would name their elders 'Son of the Fox', also pointing to the animal's mystical wisdom.
Bringers of change, the fox is a shapeshifter and has long been aligned with the energies of the earth - of constant change. When the spring snow was melting, people would watch the fox to see whether it would walk on the melting ice. If so, the ice was safe to cross.
Thus, the fox may be seen as a guide, a teacher, a way-finder, and a messenger between ourselves and the wild world.
In ancient Sumerian mythology, the fox was a messenger of the goddess Ninhursag, she who dwelt in the mountains. Ninhursag, the mother goddess, who asked Enki to create the waters of the world, and from those waters, gave birth to all plant life in the form of the goddess Ninsar, who walked in the Middle World and gave life to all of it.
It was the fox who, upon hearing of Enki's illness - which he brought upon himself through greed and consumption and ill use of the earth's plant life, it was that fox who resolved to find Ninhursag and to ask her to heal the sick god, and to heal the earth.
Looking back, I now feel so blessed that this fox wished to reveal herself to me in the mountains of Switzerland.