Metro

PHOTO ESSAY

Foxes frolick in the evening light in Pembroke

A family of foxes have made themselves comfortable near the Pembroke Friends Meetinghouse on Washington Street.
Debee Tlumacki for The Boston Globe
A family of foxes have made themselves comfortable near the Pembroke Friends Meetinghouse on Washington Street.

PEMBROKE — Several weeks ago, my wife and I drove past a mother fox and her six cubs walking around the cemetery next to the Pembroke Friends Meetinghouse.

I drive the route almost every day and had never seen them before.

The meetinghouse, which was built in 1706, sits at a busy intersection. But it’s an ideal location if you’re a fox, I suppose. There are thick woods adjacent and a feed store a block away that sells live chickens.

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My wife, Debee, who is also a photographer, and I did not have our cameras with us that day, but we determined to return with our 300mm and 400mm lenses. We had never seen such a large group of foxes together like this.

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One evening we saw them all together again, first the mother fox running through the woods toward the house. It was close to 7 p.m. and warm sunlight bathed the foxes in a golden glow. It was that moment that we waited so long for.

We both quietly walked the perimeter, hugging a rock wall like hunters, except armed with cameras. We split up, taking different sides. We were about 50 feet from them most of the time, although the mother occasionally came as close as 10 feet from my wife.

It was a perfect moment. The cubs played and frolicked on the lawn, against the house, and around the headstones. They seemed impervious to us being there.

We stayed until the mother took off with one of the cubs into the woods. We looked at each other and felt we had witnessed something extraordinary. And we have not seen them since that day.

A fox playfully jumped over a sibling at the entrance to their den under the building.
John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
A fox playfully jumped over a sibling at the entrance to their den under the building.
Other members of the brood played around an old headstone at the cemetery.
John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
Other members of the brood played around an old headstone at the cemetery.
The mother fox walked across the lawn.
Debee Tlumacki for The Boston Globe
The mother fox walked across the lawn.
A fox walked in front of the Pembroke Friends Meetinghouse.
Debee Tlumacki for The Boston Globe
A fox walked in front of the Pembroke Friends Meetinghouse.