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My Bench, its Isolation, and a Fox

r.graham.barrett's picture

My latest observation at the Miller Memorial bench really put into perspective how isolated the spot really was. True for the most part the spot and the surrounding area was not as lonely as it had been.  Seeing how it was early afternoon on a day with fairly warm weather for an October day, I saw plenty more hikers, dog walkers, and runners (especially one who streaked across my field of vision 4 times in a 20 minute period) than there had been on my previous observation periods. Yet while it was more common to see people nearby than before, surprisingly there were huge spans of time where I was completely alone in the area and quite frankly enjoyed it. It was quiet and peaceful and made it hard to believe I was close to a busy road nearby and with a hugely populated college campus no more than a football field behind me. I was not only one who seemed to finally accept this spot as a quiet little bubble to get away from it all. When I first arrived, there was another observer, a local resident it seemed like, on a bench nearby, and it was only my arrival that forced him to reevaluate his position and leave, his content isolation apparently shattered by myself. But for me the highlight of the hour ( and perhaps of all my observations so far) was seeing a fox move out of the bushes bordering the Nature Trail and quietly slip back in after a few minutes. Having never seen a fox on Haverford’s campus before, I was immediately blown away and realized the only reason I ever got to have seen one on campus was because of the isolated nature of my spot.  Although at times in the past I’ve felt that the isolated nature of the bench’s position meant I couldn’t really experience the human interaction with my spot, today’s observation let me really contemplate how much of the charm of the bench is this same isolation. I realized I’m really enjoying the observation project and having the bench as my spot because it lets me appreciate the relative isolation that can exist within our natural environment. I realized that but I also realized how that fox was so cool and was worth sitting on the bench just to get a glimpse of.