Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Brief Respite

with 4 comments

The air doesn’t have that same bite this morning. The temperature didn’t drop below zero last night. When I opened the chicken door of the coop today, the two Barred Plymouth Rock hens wasted no time in running to their favorite hangout spot with the horses under the barn overhang.

Missing this morning is the bright sunshine of the cold, clear air that slapped us in the face yesterday. That sunrise cast a long shadow as it climbed over the horizon.

Today, we have grayness dominating dawn’s first light. That didn’t provide the cover I expect the deer in our woods was counting on as it rested a few yards off the trail as Delilah and I wandered by. I probably would have missed seeing it if we hadn’t just explored the deer trails off our paths yesterday afternoon.

As a treat for our hyper-curious dog, I decided to give her a chance to follow the hoof prints wherever they led, through many a tangle of branches that challenged my ability to navigate. With her still on leash, we have to do some negotiating as she frantically searches for morsels of deer droppings.

Sometimes, I contort to get under a low branch, or switch the leash from hand to hand to get around trees. Other times, I make her stop and figure out she needs to come back and go around an obstacle to continue in line with me.

We found a surprising number of melted hollows where deer had been laying. That is what informed my ability to spot the one just off the trail this morning.

Delilah had checked the scent of tracks that left our main trail and then picked up her nose to sniff the air of the woods, just like she always does. This time, I paid enough attention to actually see what she was sensing.

The deer was looking right at us, laying down with its head up, but not moving a muscle. I offered a greeting as I directed Delilah to stay on our path for the duration of the walk.

As pleasant as this break from extreme cold is, the forecast indicates it won’t continue for long. Temperatures could rise above freezing on Tuesday and Wednesday, but then the precipitation that arrives could fall as rain before turning to ice and then snow, after which the overnight low will drop back below zero again.

That’s a fine how-do-you-do.

The sick thing is, that’s also one of the reasons I like living here. Am I a glutton for punishment? Maybe we just like having something to complain about in the weather.

Weather provides adventure that I don’t need to travel to experience. It comes to me.

Meanwhile, I know how to enjoy the occasional brief respite.

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Written by johnwhays

January 7, 2018 at 10:51 am

4 Responses

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  1. On Vancouver island the deer have been quite comfortable with humans. I’ve managed to get quite close up photos of them. When I was there for New Years there was one sitting right in front of the neighbours house like the house pet. It’s interesting to see how they’ve evolved now that they aren’t being hunted.

    Manuela

    January 7, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    • I love when the deer remain relaxed and don’t panic at the first sight of us.

      johnwhays

      January 7, 2018 at 11:11 pm

  2. I’ve as yet not encounter a deer in repose though I have certainly scared up a number.

    Jim Parker (@drjparker)

    January 7, 2018 at 11:27 am

    • It’s a real treat to have them not panic, despite our close proximity.
      You may never know how often you have been close, but not spotted the ones that didn’t startle and run.
      Having a backdrop of white snow certainly helps, in my case.

      johnwhays

      January 7, 2018 at 11:32 am


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