• Tag Archives deer
  • Pulses

    Spring                                               Mountain Spring Moon

    Under the mountain spring moon various shades of green have slowly, slowly begun to appear. The ponderosa pines have been green all winter but they’ve greened up some. The first ground cover green to appear was the bearberry when the snow melted back. This evergreen ground cover was green all along, just hidden. A shaded patch of moss has gone from a muted pale green to emerald over the last couple of weeks. There are, too, even here at 8,800 feet, dandelions. Some grass, too. Crab grass for sure, another hardy perennial. Tufts of grass that look like prairie drop seed, but are not, I’m sure, remain their winter tan.

    Too, the dogs have begun to sniff through the deck, smelling, I suppose, new rodents of some kind. Along with that has come Rigel digging. With the advent of warmer soil Rigel and Vega may begin creating holes in the rest of the yard as well. Another harbinger of spring.

    Birds chirp happily around 5:30-5:45 am as the sun begins to rise.

    Driving along Highway 78 (Shadow Mountain Drive, Black Mountain Drive (our segment) and Brook Forest Road) the only snow that remains is on the north side of the road or in shaded spots. A pond not far from our house still has ice, but the ice has a shallow layer of water over it. The mountain streams run, burble, ice now long melted and turned into stream. Willows along the streams look fire tipped as their branches turn a green gold. “Like dusted with gold,” Kate said.

    The mountain spring is a slow arriver, coming in pulses, alternated with sometimes heavy snows. We have the potential, for example, for a huge snow storm Wednesday through Friday.

    While on a drive Sunday, not far from our home, on top of a large outcropping of rock where the sun penetrated the trees, lay a fox, curled up and enjoying a quiet Sunday nap. The fox was a tan spot against the gray of the rock. Mule deer have begun to return as well, we see them at various places along the slopes and valleys. Kate just called and said, for example, that we have four deer in our front yard and “the dogs are levitating.” Sure enough, there they are, finding the green just as I have been.

  • Under the Full Summer Moon

    Summer                               Full Summer Moon

    The extended family got in the car and drove to the Osaka this evening.  Ruth, three  years old, downs sushi without aid of soy sauce and extra wasabi.  Gabe distributes food put before him in an arc around his high chair, smiling and gracious the whole time.  Jon, Jen and I share a common liking for raw fish prepared by Japanese chefs.  Ruthie may be part of that, too, but I wonder what she’ll say when she discovers its raw fish.

    The big puppies are inside tonight.  Another test of their domestication.

    Tuesday night the trash goes out here and I took the large plastic container down to the end of the driveway.  As I did a whitetail deer, a doe, perked her ears up and looked right at me, about 150 feet away.  We both stood motionless, with the exception of her ears, for five or six minutes.  I looked at her, she looked at me.  It was a sweet, natural moment between two species that have thrived in the suburban environment.  She will, no doubt, try to gain nutrition from our vegetable and flower gardens, but, then, so do we.

    The domesticity of the setting does not change that she is a wild animal.  She comes and goes with no permission needed or given.  Her visibility has its limits, usually we see deer around dusk, as tonight, but they are always somewhere nearby, tucked into a grassy bed or browsing in a hidden meadow.  The same is true of the groundhog, the Great Horned Owl, the gray squirrel, red fox, rabbits, mice, snakes, salamanders and frogs. Without the wild animal we would have no other against which to measure the degrees of our taming.  We, too, were once wild.  Now we live our lives inside right angles, with imitation suns and recorded music.

    There are, though, those moments, like tonight, when the domestic and the wild come close, brush each other in passing.  We can stand for a bit, gazing into one another’s realm, but the moments are fleeting, tendrils of time like the high cirrus clouds.   We return to the house or the brush, relieved we had a place to go, a safe place, a familiar place.

    Some of the same occurs each night when we look at the moon or the distant stars.  They represent places that, until 1969, no human had ever reached, even now the numbers are tiny.  12 men have walked on the moon, all between 1969 and 1972.  The moon is a wilderness, as is the deep space that surrounds it.  Wilderness will tolerate a human presence, but only if we agree to limit ourselves.  If we do not, we can destroy the wildness and once gone it is difficult to retrieve.

    Except, there are times when we stand and look wilderness in the eye until it twitches its white tail and gracefully exits.