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Big Bucks. I've Got 'Em.

Monday, February 16, 2015

It was one of those days when the animals and birds came to me, all day long. I have a million more Florida shots but the here and now is tugging at my hem, begging to be honored.

This, February 16 2015, is the first major snowstorm we've had. Unlike the poor beleaguered, smothered Northeast, we've had little snow in southeast Ohio this winter. And I've loved every minute of that.

This is how I feel about snow. 

Not a huge fan of snow. I love it when it's falling and fresh. 
After it turns into boilerplate, not so much.
About six inches now, and still falling gently. It started out fine as drizzle. That's how you can tell it means bidness.

I had a very special visitor in the afternoon, whom I'll tell you about in another post. I shot dozens of photos of her. And then Bill called me to the living room to see what was out the meadow. 

 Ten deer, at least four of them bucks. And not small ones, either.
I was amazed that four still had their antlers. Here, three of them--two eight pointers, and in the middle, a beast.

It occurred to me that they may have been herding up to go find a place to bed down this evening, to make a yard, in case the snow got really deep.

And rutting season being essentially over, the boys were all pals again, and they leave the does mostly alone (though I had a big buck driving a doe around the meadow just a week or so ago).

This buck has very nice tall tines. Eight points.

But there was another who was bigger.

His left antler has six tines! and his right, five.

 We looked on, amazed. A bit tricky to capture both dog and deer in the same exposure, but not as tricky as it was for Chet Baker to leap gently up onto the cedar chest without knocking over either the poinsettia or the beaded zebra from South Africa. Nice work, Little CatDog.

I couldn't take my eyes or lens off that buck.

He reminded me of the stag who appears out of the mist to Bambi, to tell him his mother is dead and he has to go on alone now.

So beautiful out there in our meadow, a visitation.

My favorite shot of him.

He moved slowly to the woods, pausing to run his tines through some low-hanging honeysuckle. Force of habit.

 And inside, the little dog watched.

Those bucks made my day, a day already so special for having Liam home, and then Bill, fleeing his office for the snow, heading home early. And my beloved birds and animals visiting all day long, as if to pay their respects.

A friend of mine wrote me tonight:

I am confident now that visitations in the way of signs, symbols, and assorted expressions of consciousness are real and purposeful. I think the creatures you notice in particular places and at particular times are intended for you. The more you notice, the more will come.

And another friend wrote:

Who knows what form consciousness takes...I will pay even closer attention to the subtexts of your posts from now on . The vast landscapes you paint are not lost on me.

I am grateful for these people, who understand, who notice the subtle things, who attach import to the seemingly random small graces that rain on us every day.


Here in Delaware, the other day we had very high winds and bitter cold. Right outside the computer room window are some azalea bushes that were protected from the high winds by a stockade fence. A large group of chickadees, titmice, cardinals, and white-throated sparrows were hunkering down, decorating the bushes like living Christmas tree ornaments. When I appeared at the window, rather than flee in terror, the 'dees and 'mice actually started making for the window, trying to get in to me. I found myself tearing up, wishing that I could just open the window and let them all in. They had enough food out there, as I made sure to keep the feeders full and they had water because of the immersion heater in the pond. Why were they trying to get to me? It was an absolutely beautiful, magical moment that I will treasure. I like to think that their spirit recognized a kindred spirit in me.

I can't help but think of a current commercial -- a man finds the magic lantern, rubs it, genie appears and the lucky man wishes for "a million bucks."
PRESTO--the room is filled with a million bucks...with antlers.
Me? I think I'd rather have that kind of a million bucks than the other kind. Money can't buy nature's unexpected beauty.

I'm more fortunate than most native Floridians. Life placed me in a couple of places for several years that received regular snowfall. Yes, I cursed the stuff. But I also came to appreciate how incredibly soft and silent the forest became. Your post immediately brought a ghost buck in upstate New York bubbling to my memory's surface.

Thank you.

I feed a herd of 12 or so. One "white nose" as she has a patch of white fur on nose stares at backdoor if pan is empty. Also had a yellow bellied sapsucker & pileateds @ suet feeders.

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