I have just finished reading "The Fox Woman" by Kij Johnson and found it to be a deeply poetic, imaginative and emotionally-compelling novel. The story is building on ancient Japanese fairy-tales about Kitsune - foxes that are said to have magical powers and can transform into humans. In Kij Johnson's tale, that is precisely what happens, when a young female fox spots and falls in love with a human man, Yoshifuji. It is a bitter sweet story, and like many tales of magical transformation and the bridging of worlds, ends somewhat sadly. The important aspects that were present for me while reading it, was the difficulty experienced by the characters when straddling two worlds, two lives, or even two selves. A man must choose between duty and passion, a wife chooses between traditional and her own longing, and a fox must choose between the wild wood and the world of humans. It echoes something inside of myself.
Most of my life, I have also experienced the feeling of sitting on the line between two worlds. I was a Canadian living in New Zealand, and while other children played rugby, I was off in fairy-land, dreaming up strange worlds that no one else seemed to understand. And now, as an adult, I am faced with new choices; to follow the artists path, or the straight and narrow; go with stability and security, or take the risk and chance the loss of everything. Do I be who I have always been, or continue with my adventure into the person that I am starting to become?
I heard once that you cannot find new lands until you lose sight of the seashore. I feel I am very far from the shore these days, and still no other land yet in sight. All the while, I try my best to enjoy the salty air of new experiences and go with the strange tides that have decided to carry me.
May all who travel have shoes, courage and a strong heart to light the way.