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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Saturday, September 7, 2013

What a difference a deer makes

Here are the phlox in the garden near the house.

Here are the phlox in the garden down by the water.

The difference is that the deer around here nip buds all summer long in the one garden, and leave the other completely alone. I can only assume that the manufactured wood, or human smells, or fear of glass keeps them away from the house.

The deer wars have been going on for a long time. I was reading today that deer were nearly wiped out in New England in the early 19th century, from indiscriminate hunting and from clearing the forests. With reforestation (we're almost back to colonial coverage) and regulations on hunting, the deer came back, and have become especially fond of the goodies that our gardens provide. Every since we got civilized in the later 19th century, people have been complaining at this clear violation of the suburban imperative. Me, I'm ecstatic that such wild and graceful and beautiful animals are so willing to share their space with us, and ask so little in return. When I see a mother and yearling standing stock-still in in a yard near the edge of woods, as we exchange 5 minutes' worth of stares, when I finally move on, when a second yearling crosses the road behind me and joins its family waiting so bravely for the human to leave, when all three bound elegantly into the safety of the trees, how can any dark mood not lift away, how can one not rejoice at the difference a deer makes?

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