She is so brazen.
She looked up at me, startled, but unafraid, when I came out onto our screened in porch yesterday morning.
There she was, standing inside our fenced-in dog yard, stems and leaves dangling from her mouth. She looked guilty, like a kid who got caught with their hand in the cookie jar.
We’ve lived here 11 years, and this is the first time this has happened.
I gazed back at her from less than 15 feet away. She has beautiful eyes, I thought, watching her watching me, as she casually chewed her mouthful of weeds.
I’ve known her, this one particular doe, since she was a striking little fawn. There are many deer, but both she and her mother are different.
Her mother is the grand matriarch of this section of Woods, the biggest doe I’ve ever seen (with the biggest ears to match), the leader of the rest of the “girls,” many of whom are her offspring. Now she is the “old doe,” slowing down with age, and instead of twins, having single fawns.
But this daughter of hers looks ready to take her mother’s place. She was clearly different from the beginning, her coat several shades lighter than that of her twin brother and the rest of the deer. It still is, and in Winter, it is the palest silver-gray. Now she is two years old, and has twin fawns of her own.
She has always been brazen, this one.
Once, I started the car up, in the evening, flipped on the headlights, and there she was, standing right in front of the car. I waited for her to move, as her companions had.
But instead, she looked at me, and stamped her hoof imperiously, before ever so slowly turning around. Her tail went up, and the headlights lit it up. I watched as the hairs spread out; it reminded me somehow of a peacock’s tail. I didn’t know they could do that – control the spread of the white hairs, and she spread them like a fan for me to see. It was beautiful, the hairs shimmering, crystalline white, in the light.
This doe reminds me of a goat I used to have, named Molly, who was just that color. She has as much personality as a goat, that much is for certain, and in case you’ve never had goats, well, they have nearly as much personality & intelligence as a dog.
As I gazed at the doe in my dog yard, my newly awakened brain surveyed the fence running around it. That fence would hold a goat, I thought, unless it climbed over it. I began pondering how she was going to get out of there – and how she got in.
I needn’t have worried.
When she finished chewing her mouthful, staring at me the whole time, but with her body calm, her white tail relaxed, she nonchalantly ambled over to the fence, nibbling as she went. With one graceful leap, from a standstill, she was over the 42″ high fence, and began nibbling away on the other side.
So graceful. So beautiful. So easy.
She continued her grazing around the outside of the dog yard, and I watched her a long time.
Suddenly she alerted, her eyes staring intently off into the Woods on the other side of the house. If I didn’t bother her, and Kodi’s careful surveillance of her didn’t bother her, then what did?
I walked across the deck to see, and standing in a very green patch, lit by the sun, was a beautiful big stag, with a gleaming rusty red coat, and a heavy rack on his head. The bucks are banding together now, and he had several with him, of all ages.
I regretted I hadn’t had my phone, and therefor my camera, with me, to get a picture of the doe in the dog yard, and the beautiful bucks.
But I shouldn’t have worried about that, either.
The brazen girl came back in the afternoon, saw me on the porch swinging in my hammock chair, and, looking me in the eye, jumped the fence again, in a different place. She almost, just almost, looked like a teenager, daring me to tell her she couldn’t be in there.
She didn’t like having her picture taken, though, and was further away from the house than she’d been earlier. But it was nice of her to let me get one decent shot, the one at top.
I love the deer, especially this brazen girl, who has walked so frequently through our “yard” with her fawns in tow.
I love these Woods, and I love these mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
My heart has always called them home.