It was a foggy, wet, and gloomy morning last week, when five deer came by to spend the day. Their visits aren’t unusual. This time, I was working at the computer upstairs when I noticed them standing, rather oddly, staring back into the trees. Two, at first, then a third, and a fourth, and a fifth. They were all standing fairly motionless and seemed to be looking in the same direction. Soon afterwards, they began wandering, as I’d expect, nibbling on whatever food morsels they find on a cold, not-quite-frozen morning. Not much later, I saw one, and then another, bend and lower its front legs, and bring itself to a resting position on wet leaves in the back part of the yard. I’ve seen them do this on hot summer afternoons too, in the ivy, in the same area, but the shady bed of soft, cool ivy on a muggy July afternoon seems more appealing than the soaked cushion of wet, leathery oak leaves on a cold December morning.
They spent much of the day in the yard as I moved downstairs to work in the kitchen, and they were close enough, it would seem, to be aware of me through the nearby windows. They nibbled on what they could find, they chased each other, and they rested, not far away, as I busied myself with a new recipe.
Deer shouldn’t be so comfortable around people, but the unfortunate reality is humans continually reduce the availability of larger wooded areas, while deer need to scavenge for nourishment. They still move with the agility and strength of the wild, and yet their appearance is gentle and unthreatening, and their nearby presence brings something like a mutual recognition. It’s probably not the way it should be, nevertheless, one can do worse on a cold, wet, December day than to look out and enjoy the company of five deer nearby.
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