Sunday, March 22, 2009

Living on the Far Side

One day last week as I drove up the hill where I live, I looked to the left and counted thirteen in my neighbor’s front yard, then another fourteen to the right in the open fields.
A few days without snow cover, and there is grass to eat, but the deer seem to have to range far to find enough. They are out at dawn and at dusk, as we might expect, but also in broad mid-day. The deer are hungry.

Constrained to the house more than usual, my dogs watch out the windows and let me know when more deer appear. I have become vigilant, doing a complete scan all around the house before anyone goes out even for a quick pee or to run the ten yards or so to the fenced dog run. Still, a couple of times when I thought there were no deer, we stepped outside to see a whirl of white tails. Thank goodness, my dogs come when they are called, at least if I speak quickly before they are in full pursuit.

The deer seem to be getting stronger, but they don’t move away quickly even when human or car approaches. They stand and stare, as if to say, “Please, let us eat this nice grass. There is nothing for us in the woods.” It’s a little spooky, a little like living in a Far Side cartoon. It makes me feel as if I should rush from car to house and lock the door, lest I hear the sound of hooves on the front porch and see antlers framed in the front windows.

Meanwhile, the back window—one of only two on that north-facing side of the house—has broken. No trees nearby, no falling snow or ice. I have to wonder if a bird flew into it with enough force to crack the glass. And from the front windows, I just saw a flash of black and white fur. Skunks back in the barn. Nature is on the move. It must be spring.

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