Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven

Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven

Fox and I was an interesting and fast read. Author Catherine Raven writes beautifully vivid scenes in the wilderness. She sparks the imagination and immerses the reader into the wild.

Catherine Raven is a biologist living in an isolated cabin in the wilderness. She teaches field classes at nearby Yellowstone National Park. She also has to be home at 4:15 p.m. every day to meet with her friend, Fox.

Fox begins to visit Raven day after day at nearly the same time. The fox is curious and not afraid. He lays down near Raven and watches her from behind a plant.

Friendship and commitment become the main theme as Raven builds a bond with Fox. Animals are so complex that we sometimes forget the simplest means of communication will work. Raven reads to the fox to help build trust and connection. Fox begins to recognize the author’s voice and her appearance. It seems to bring her pride that she has advanced the relationship to this point. You can feel the disappointment on days when the fox doesn’t show up, breaking their commitment.

Read the tale of human and animal: forging an uncommon friendship. There are plenty of other animals on Raven’s property and she allows us to meet many of them. You’ll swoon with giddiness when the baby kits arrive! Deer, birds, and insects all make appearances.

As a park ranger and scientist, Raven knows quite a bit about zoology and ecology. It was refreshing to read scientifically accurate descriptions of the wilderness and of the fox’s behavior. I appreciated the chance to think about conservation policies and the realities of our current wildlife populations.

Raven spends a lot of time wrestling with humanizing the animals she encounters. She mentions that her strong scientific training taught her that animals are not for anthropomorphizing, but she just can’t seem to help giving human traits to her fox friend. I like that this creates a bit of tension and confrontation within the author.

The amount of nature in this book is astounding. Any nature fans or biologists will appreciate just how much Raven loves and respects natural things. I found myself getting lost in the simple, yet insightful descriptions of animals in their natural habitat. Sometimes the descriptions are almost child-like in their simplicity. But really, I think this reflects the elegant nature of animals. It shows that the slow regard for life and existence are worth savoring.

A book regarding nature deserves to be read outdoors.

I am in love with the chapter titles! I really am a sucker for chapter titles and I wish all books included them. I find they enhance my excitement going into a new chapter and it’s especially nice when I have that “Aha!” moment when I figure out what the title means.

Check out some of my favorite chapter titles from Fox and I:

  • Magpies
  • Elephants
  • Elk and Badgers
  • Endless Possibilities of Mischief
  • A Reptile Disfunction
  • Two Black Dogs
  • Spotted Owls

I’d recommend Fox and I to anyone looking for a moving and insightful story about unusual connections. The language is as beautiful as the natural landscape it describes. I enjoyed the descriptions of nature and the feeling that I could imagine sitting in those woods myself, hoping to meet a furry friend.

Fox clearly left quite the impression on Raven. I think that’s what matters most with this book. The fact that an animal has the power to profoundly change a human, if only we stop to listen to what they’ve got to say.

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