April 7, 2009 7:20 PM

I stared at the trees in dim, gray light glimpsing the quick flick of a white tail.  I approached cautiously from the side taking care not to look directly at the thicket where the doe stood.  She stared at me, muscles tense, ready to bolt in an instant.  I moved  along the opposite side of a brush pile wondering if the obstruction might make me seem safer.  Then, I edged along the marsh reeds slowly until I was about sixty feet away.  She hadn’t moved.  Her brown coat was easily lost against the brown grass.  I stood quietly for long enough that she relaxed enough to move around, but never taking eyes from me.  As I stared, I began to make out the shape of another deer a few feet into the thicket.  I thought of a ‘where’s waldo’ puzzle.  Before long, I realized there were six.  They relaxed and went about there business browsing on tree buds and braches.  Four lined up on the buffet of my downed apple tree.  Fresh buds rarely within easy reach.  With a snap of a branch under my foot, they were gone in the flash of a white tail dancing into the darkness.

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March 19, 2009 11:50 AM                       

 

I stared across the yard into the gray woods bordering my property, trough gray clouds and gray drizzle, searching for hints of red buds and new growth peeking out that suggest the coming tipping point from gray to green.  I know it is early, but I am optimistic.  From the corner of my vision, I caught a flash of white contrast against gray.  Turning in that direction, I watched until I saw it again, barely making out the contours of a deer.  I squinted and looked while it moved through brush to an open area that provided me with a clearer view.  She nibbled at saplings – I suspect looking for and eating those very buds I long to see myself.  Soon another doe arriving to snack on that same tree joined her, then there were four; in a moment, it was a feeding frenzy. I watched one reach up onto her hind legs and sniff at something in a cedar.  By the time I grabbed my camera, most had wondered off deeper into the woods. One ventured closer into my yard and I am increasingly nervous about my peach tree with its promising red shoots and buds looking like a delicacy to a winter-starved deer.