Friday, April 24, 2009


WILDLIFE
Jennifer’s Big Scare

We spoke in hoarse whispers to each other, frozen in place by the sound of rustled leaves and broken branches. Behind the thicket of brambles, a scene from a Lee Friedlander picture, we saw the big ears of the deer and then another and then their mother. The deer didn’t notice us at first, but we could only do the barely breathing statue dance for so long. Inevitably, its ears pricked and it froze too, watching us with black eyes. The stand-off lasted until the desire to browse became overwhelming. Back to the marshy plants, then a quick jerk, as if we might push its nose into the drinking fountain like boys in early puberty. The song and dance cycled around for a few more minutes, until eventually I edged my camera out of its bag and took some pictures. We stood there for an hour hiding our passive-aggressive non-resistant rage at passersby that didn’t realize it is magical to watch wild animals and that one should discipline herself against jokes and the sort of contemptuous spoken language one might resort to while watching Celebrity Apprentice.
We were on the edge of a salt water marsh within sight of our apartment on a lazy weekend morning. It’s a place like Terry Tempest Williams’ Refuge where sandpipers, surf scoters, red wing blackbirds, killdeers, barn swallows, and pairs of mandarin ducks have the general run of the place and fill the air with flutters and songs. Jennifer tried to whistle like a black bird to get it to answer like her mother Edith would have given the same conditions.
As we were reluctantly leaving our deer and following our stomachs home, we heard some wild snarling from the brush and our deer came running towards us, bounding to within a few feet of us in a rush to get away. After listening to the screams on the Internet as soon as we got home, Jennifer is pretty sure it was a cougar. I’m not sure about that, but here in the timberland where the ravens fly so close you can hear their wings rustle the animals are still in charge of nature. When the early sun makes the mist dance across the salt water and the wind sinks deep into your skin outside our front door, it seems wild and wonderful outside and all you want to do is watch.

3 Comments:

Blogger Gene and Amy Stauffer said...

Wow, I wish I could have been there for that...

-amy

5:12 AM  
Blogger Meredith said...

I'd love to visit you while you live close to those salt flats! I'd like to see the various species of birds. Here the Hooded Mergansers, robins, Bald Eagles and Chipping Sparrows are back from the south. Soon we'll be seeing many more returns.~mil

6:44 PM  
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2:26 PM  

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