Friday, November 21, 2008

The Dears

We frequently see deer loping around here where we live. Early on, Toren learned, when saying goodbye to friends and family at night, to say, "Bye! Be careful deers!" because it's a very real concern. You might be driving around a dark, foggy corner and hit a deer in the road.

Two days ago, Toren and I were out playing in the open area near the neighbors' house when I heard a thudding sound behind me. I had been standing, listening to a frog creak and crick, and wondered what in the heck this new thumping sound was. I turned around, and there was a stag wandering about a few yards away. We were all mutually alarmed by each others' prescence and he pranced away across the road. We watched him bound off, first that way, then changing his mind and coming back across the road and disappearing.

Toren loves watching the deer. Then and there he decided he wants to dress as a "reindeer" next Halloween. Among Toren's other favorite animals are horses and donkeys. Yesterday he, Olivia, and the new kitty stood at a window and watched the arrival of the dark-eyed juncoes, the little winter birds so common here. Olivia watched a funny little male pecking at a weed gone to seed and named him "Daisy," unaware of gender or appropriate names. She made me smile, wanting to go outside and hold Daisy and bring him inside for some food.

After a moment Toren began pointing and saying, "A horse, Olivia! A horse over there!" I knew it was much more likely to be a deer, and sure enough, it was. A tiny doe stood cropping the short new growth of greenery across the drive. We watched it for a few minutes and exclaimed over it. Then I sneaked out the door, video camera in hand, and of course the kids followed. I wouldn't mind being a wildlife photographer. I've always been a Marty Stouffer fan.

I got within several yards of the doe and kept filming as the children, barefoot, and coatless, Olivia without pants, crept after the deer on tiptoe, hands held up and out to balance them in a classic cartoon-creeping fashion. The doe watched for a moment and trotted up the hill and across an opening, looking over her shoulder from time to time to watch these strange, blonde-haired pixies following her. Olivia began running bare-legged across the grassy hill after it, calling "Come back! I want to talk to you!" and such things and I laughed out loud. Toren wasn't sure what to do, so he kept his usual protocol: when all else is mystifying, imitate Olivia. It made for a cute video - them in the foreground, the deer bounding away up the hill in the background.

The kids looked a bit out of place, what without pants and shoes, and I lead them back into the house. Olivia bucked and pranced on all fours back to the house. "Eeyah," Toren said adamantly, "Deers talk. They say, 'Hello!'"