The oriole’s glossy song. Up in the woods, a deer snorts in alarm for half an hour, until I think a bear or coyote must’ve found her fawn.
The black currants are in full leaf, squat from their winter’s pruning by the deer. Down-hollow, a hen turkey yelping, a tom gobbling back.
Rainy and warm. Seven deer file into the yard and spread out to graze. One kicks up her heels and dances sideways, as if she’s still a fawn.
Two deer wander through the yard, coats wet with rain. The scrawnier one samples the daffodil sprouts, then startles at the old dog statue.
Just inside the woods, a white spear-tip where a maple’s top snapped off last June, sad as the spikes on the buck standing in the driveway.
A furious buzzing from around the house where hummingbirds duel over the last few beebalm flowers. A half-grown fawn emerges from the woods.
The catbird is already in full throat at sunrise. Six deer graze in the meadow below the blossoming pear tree, muzzles dripping.
The finest of snowflakes—little more than sparkles in the sun—drift down from an almost blue sky. The yard is a maze of deer hoof-prints.
Brown patches in the yard where deer have pawed the snow aside to eat myrtle. An oak leaf curled like a stillborn spirals down from the sky.
A new half-inch of snow returns the yard to blankness and hides the driveway ice. Neat hoof prints stretch and skew wildly into a slide.
New snow—already despoiled by deer digging for grass. I watch a red-bellied woodpecker inch down one side of a tree and inch up the other.
Rain and fog. Two bucks stand among the trees, antlers dripping as they lower their heads for a better look at the doe lying in the weeds.
In the dim light, the sound of eight bone knives being whetted against a sapling. The buck straightens up and gives me a baleful look.
At the base of the hill, the meadow is white with frost. A small deer carries the white torch of its tail up into the sunlit woods.
White shapes appear and disappear in the pre-dawn darkness: nervous deer raising and lowering their tails.
Loud wingbeats as the shadow of a raven crosses the yard. A buck gingerly lowers his antlered head to the stream.