Last night I was walking my dog out in the backyard. I always have a flashlight with me because we have fisher cats, coyotes, and other predators in the area that I have to be careful of. So, I’m standing there holding my dog’s leash and he was off in his own world intently sniffing something on the ground. I was scanning the inky recesses of the yard when the light bounced of two glowing eyes standing about 5 feet off the ground about 30 feet away from where I stood. I gasped and took a step back, hating myself for all the horror movies I have ever seen. Taking a deep, yet shuddering breath, I tentatively looked again. The light bounced off the pale broad flank, up the long slender neck, and the softly curved head of a deer. My eyes widened as we stared at each other. It occurred to me that he had probably seen me long before I realized we were sharing space and he had still emerged from the woods and entered the yard. I was no threat to him. I brought the light down again because I didn’t want my dog to see him and start barking and scare him or wake the neighborhood. My curiosity could not be contained though and I kept shining the light and finding him ghosting across the yard towards the street where I could only assume he was heading to the nearby river. After he had disappeared around the corner of the house I stood there basking in the magic of the moment. That magic has stayed with me throughout today as well. This might not be the most authorial way to express this sentiment but it was just so cool.
This afternoon the flock of wild turkeys that live in the woods behind my house were having a symposium. I watched them darting to and fro among the trees and could imagine the large footprints they were leaving in the snow as they tramped about. I wondered what they were saying to one another as they gobbled and yelped and barked at one another. Such a strange language for the human ear to listen to. The largest male came to the edge of the woods and gazed at me, sizing me up, trying to determine if it was safe for the rest of the flock to enter the clearing. If it is possible for such a clumsy looking bird to look majestic, he had it mastered. I marveled at the size of him and the large fan of feathers on his rump. Unconsciously I took a step backwards as to not appear threatening. Seeing my motion, he turned tail and darted back into the trees barking warning sounds to the rest who quickly disappeared further into protection of the vertical timbers. Then all was quiet again. Just the sound of melting snow splashing off the roof and the lazy wind blowing around obstacles that it met.