Two nights ago it was far to late for me to be awake. Usually, I make a habit of being in bed by eleven thirty every night--a profound wonder for a college student. On this particular night, it was friday and I had been stolen for a night of fun and chaos by some very dear friends. As this night drew to a close, my dear Friend Boy and I wandered away from the rest of the group to find a place to be quiet together.
We found such a place under a tree across the softball field. The moon was not shining because it was so covered by clouds preparing to rain as soon as they got the chance, but there was a streetlamp about fifty feet away that allowed me to see a shape coming out of the woods to my left.
At first I thought it was a cat. But then again, it was far too large to be a cat.
It was within fifty feet of my friend and I when I saw that it was a red fox. I had seen red foxes before, but never so close.
I jabbed Friend Boy in the side. It took a moment, but he saw it. It did not see us until it was very close, no more than twenty feet away. And then it just looked at us. It seemed completely unthreatened by the boy and the girl sitting close against each other under the maple tree. We stared, it stared. None of us moved until some late night runners flashed by and the fox took off into the night.
It was a beautiful moment at the time. The soft lamplight, the cool air, the damp ground leaving dirt on my jeans, sitting close with Friend Boy and having my arm linked in his, and, just to leave me breathless, a beautiful red animal coming out of the forest and sharing itself with us. The wonder of it was still between us when we spent three hours sitting on cold stone and talking to each other the following day. We spoke of it more than once. Reimagining the perfection of the small amount of time when we had made eye contact with something wild and smiling.
We were the only ones who had that. Having spent most of our night with eight other people, there had been lots of moments, but I doubt that this one would have been nearly as beautiful with that large, noisy group of friendship.
I was glad that we had sought solitude together.
We shared wonder. Sometimes God lets us experience that just for the heck of it, to show us how cool he is and how beautiful he can make a moment.
It was a beautiful moment.
Wonder defines life.