Sun-bleached bones were most wonderful against the blue – that blue that will always be there as it is now after all man’s destruction is finished.
It’s the first day of Deer hunting season here. I watched two young bucks a few minutes ago in front of the studio. One was very young and small with two prongs jutting from its head while the other was older and heavier. His rack was larger, 8 points, I think. There was a familiarity between them and they bumped heads in the way bucks do when they joust for dominance except that this was gentle and almost instructive. The little guy jumped backward and the larger one went back to grazing.
Then a third buck appeared, heavier through its shoulders and neck with a rack that was thicker than the buck that was already here. This newcomer immediately took umbrage at the little guy and chased him around a bit and finally up into the pine forest that surrounds my studio. He paid no attention at all to the other buck. He came out of the forest with a twiggy branch tangled in his rack, dangling out in front of his head.
He then looked at the lone doe on site as she grazed with her hind quarters to him. He slowly advanced towards her in a comical manner. If this were a cartoon he would be tip-toeing towards her with that branch acting as some sort of goofy camouflage. But she took notice and ducked under one of my large rhododendron bushes, leaving him there alone. He put down his head to eat at the grass and the branch dropped free.
I look out now and he’s still there, looking around. I silently send him my best wishes for the next few perilous weeks. There is always a little anxiety at this time of the year for these ones that I know so well. I have seen so many of these deer on a daily basis for years that I recognize some quite well, having watched many of them grow from tiny fawns to strong bucks and does. And I think they recognize me as well and have a certain comfort level with me and this place.
It makes me feel a bit protective of these beautiful creatures. Be careful out there and stay safe, my friends. I’m talking to the deer, of course, but if you are a hunter the same advice goes out to you.