Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Working the woods

Nearly every afternoon lately, we've seen a deer on our walks on Bay View Terrace. I should say "the" deer, because I think it's the same one each time, and I think it's one of the two grown-up yearlings that we saw in the spring following their mother through these woods. It is standing on the side of the road or ambling across it, and it stops dead when it sees us, a hundred yards or so away. Its body is pointed into the woods, its head looks back, and as we get closer, maybe within 30 or 40 yards, I can see its large brown eyes and those big ears, slightly twitching, that would look so comical on anything else but this beautiful creature. It is upwind; I can smell its musk. When we cross its invisible comfort line, it bounds away.

Mia regards it as she would a mole, or another dog, or a grizzly bear - wary interest, from a distance.

Of the three animals in this picture, it's hard to say which is wedded more to routine. The deer seems to be following the instructions of his mama: walk these woods in the early afternoon, don't ask why, just walk. The dog starts looking at its owner about 1:15: it's time (even though she doesn't particularly like the walk), it's just time so let's go. And the human: as he walks, he imagines the deer waking up with the sun, getting some breakfast, checking its sites for news, working its woods, and stopping for lunch and a walk and some chores around the deeryard. Exactly his own life up here, except he has words, and how wonderful to work them.

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