Sunday, and one can hear between bursts of oriole song the creaking of wings, the drone of a bumblebee, a deer snorting a quarter-mile off.
In the half-light, the faint crackling sound of a deer eating a rose bush. A lone Canada goose flies over, honking enough for a whole flock.
Over the dawn fusillade of woodpeckers, I hear the distant gobbles of a turkey. Five deer graze below the house. The doves make moan.
Fresh from their beds, two deer come out of the woods and stand blinking at the new green grass. One scratches her belly with a hind foot.
Five inches of fresh snow, the kind that clings to every twig. I catch a movement up in the woods: a deer raises its tail to take a shit.
Rain and fog. A robin drops into the barberry bush, tut-tutting. Up in the woods, two deer stand with their heads buried in the soft snow.
Cold, clear, and still. Three dark silhouettes of deer half-running, half-dancing through the laurel with the sun-flooded powerline beyond.
Just out of sight through the dripping woods, something dangerous must be passing: a succession of deer blast its odor from their nostrils.
After rain and cold, the snow is reduced to a thin crust on top of the leaf litter. It shatters with every waking footstep of the deer.
Almost as warm outside as in. Two deer trot past, their gray coats shining, the trees behind them dark from last night’s rain.
—Every season is deer season; this is the opening day of rifle season. —Where are the rifles, then? —Zipped up in their cases, staying dry.
Dripdripdrip — rain on the roof. Off in the darkness, the explosive snorting of a deer: coyote? Bear? Human? Something with the wrong odor.
A doe trailed by a scrawny 5-point buck. The soundtrack includes a train, a raven, geese, a wren, and a low-flying plane with a wide eraser.
Dawn finds the first snow — a faint dusting. It’s very still. Down in the pines, a screech owl quavers. The slow footfalls of a deer.