Deer oh deer oh deer
Since July my home life has been all about packing/unpacking and moving and painting and fixing and sorting and ordering.
Moving is exhausting.
At the same time we were moving my work life ramped up from part-time to full time, back in the classroom with a whole new job. Work life has been about learning and teaching and backtracking and figuring out how things work and who to know and who to let go and listening. Starting a new job is exciting. And exhausting.
Between the two, I feel like I have been in hyper drive for months and living an intentionally slow life has evaded me. Unless I plan it, nature and I don’t have daily or even weekly meetings anymore.
I miss her.
On an unusually warm winter day over the holidays, I made my family go hiking to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. The sunshine and the view were worth the wait. My soul smiled again after what felt like a long tunnel of “must-get-this-done-today” months.
We now have 2.6 acres of land, most of which is mowable grass but a portion is woods. Enough area to hike next to a creek to a farmer’s pond, to see pileated woodpeckers and red shouldered hawks and deer.
Oh, the deer.
One of my daily intentions is to pay attention to the world around me. To not only appreciate the sunrise on my way to work, but to notice the colors, to notice how the light changes daily, to acknowledge foggy mornings when the sun is barely seen yet lights up the sky with such warmth. Where I live, I want to record how the light changes through the seasons, to note which flowers and plants grow, to pay attention to the birds so I can buy the right seeds, to see who else shares this land with us.
I still have not grown used to the deer. They are here everyday.
In the mornings when I shower, I peek out my second story bathroom window, looking for their dark shapes moving through our yard and when I come home at the end of the day, I move slowly down my driveway, hoping to see them at the edges of the woods in my neighbors yard, or eating grass just off my husband’s office in the front of the house.
In August the females traveled with their babes, someones a lone doe, sometimes twins but never more than 3 together. Their almost burnt orange coats were hard to miss even in the tall grasses and woods.
Momma deer have threatened me more than once, snorting and pawing the ground. I keep my distance but also push it a bit for I want to get as close as possible. Some days I’ve listened to them chewing, I’ve heard them snort at each other, and have been close enough to see their eyelashes as they move their heads.
As summer moved into fall which gave way to winter, the females joined together and now we see herds of 15 and 16 almost daily. There are 5 large bucks traveling with them. Sometimes the females put up with the males, sometimes they chase them away. Seems about right.
The little ones have grown and their fur changed from ruddy orange to a warm brown, from thin and fine to thick and fluffy.
They eat the grass in our yard, nibble on the branches in the woods, are successful in finding food because our winter has been quite warm and snowless. Only 2 days of snow but it was gone before another day arrived.
With five bucks I am sure the herd will grow this spring. I am anxious to take my kids back into the woods to look for antlers, and further into spring to see if we can find new little ones hidden in the grass.
I know some find deer a nuisance but having never lived this close to them, having never observed them on a daily basis, even after five months, I still get giddy when I see them, still grab my camera and take a million photos. Still stand and watch them move and eat and interact. Still yell to my kids to, “come here, there are deer!” as if they have never seen one before.
Thankfully, my kids still humor me and watch with me in awe.