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Snow Deer

Sunday, February 21, 2016

I am feeling almost as smug as this doe looks, sitting in Charlotte airport with a belly full of cheezy grits. We both like corn, just take it in different forms. I'm headed to ten days in Costa Rica. If that's not good enough, TEN of the twelve travelers I'm accompanying are cherished friends from my prior Holbrook Travel trips or my festival work.  Guess they're gluttons for the kind of Zick Overload Mario Cordoba and I love to dish out. Only two strangers in the group. And that won't last long. I kinda feel for the new couple, because there will be so many inside jokes flying back and forth and so much cackling they're going to think we're all daft.

I thought I'd better post some awesome snowdeer photos while I still can, because by all indications spring is racing toward Ohio. Yes, I know they're predicting another Snowmageddon. I plan to miss her clean. Ha. Ha. Hahaha. I've left the homefront in Bill and Liam's capable hands. Stoked up the seed and corn and suet,  cleaned the fishtank, kissed them all goodbye six times and I'm off.

As for spring--I took a delightful birding excursion at Pickerington Ponds Metropark on the eve of my departure. There, a short jump from Port Columbus airport, I saw and heard and drank in sandhill cranes, ducks of seven species, and thrilled to singing red-winged blackbirds, killdeer and woodcock. Oh yes. Spring is on its way. Didn't hurt that it was nearly 70 degrees and I  had to break out a sleeveless shirt. There's hope. It's coming.

Flight of green-winged teal. There were ring-necked ducks, northern shoveler, American wigeon, blacks and mallards, redheads, wood and hooded mergansers, too, for a total of 8 species. Pickerington Ponds is a beautiful gem, an oasis in urban sprawl. And floating from high overhead, the sonorous croaking bugle of cranes!! Overlain with the winnowing wings of ducks, and the happy conk-a-ree! of redwings. A-oh, way to go Ohio!

 And the birds and animals find it. A pair of bald eagles, skeins of ducks and geese, four calling sandhill cranes, and chickarees! I hadn't seen one for years. Amazing what joy a little red squirrel can bring.

 Back to Indigo Hill...

Deer roam our meadow, eating pine needles, which I read are high in Vitamin C. It's nice to know they can eat that. The tiny pine seedlings Bill mowed around in 1993 have become deer feeders. 

That's how they get snow on their faces.

Grabbing these moments when a doe comes sneaking up from the orchard.

The deer have learned my rhythms, know when I'm going to throw a scoop of corn out. They're gonna miss me when I'm gone. They listen for me and now even go so far as to stare me down when they visit and the corn is all gone.
Boss Doe says HEY ZICK. What the hell? She studies me as I sit at the drawing board, a guilty grin on my face. Well, Boss Doe, you're late. Take that.

Oh how I love grabbing those moments.

When the snow goes blue in the afternoon, taking all the color from the sky

and she pauses, seemingly lost in thought.

And why couldn't she be thinking about last October, and a buck she knew? And wishing she weren't already pregnant and growing bigger by the day. We don't know what deer think, but it's a mistake to assume they can't reminisce, ponder, mull or worry. Why shouldn't a deer have up days and down, miss last year's tryst or last spring's fawn? Why do we think humans are the only ones with emotional capacity? Oh wait. We know dogs and cats have emotions, because they're our open books. But do we think about the emotional capacity of deer, or cardinals? We must learn to connect all we learn from our pets to the rest of the natural world. 

And Ellen--what of Ellen? Here she was in October 2015.  And we didn't see her again for a couple of months. But that's her pattern. We felt very lucky to have an autumn sighting of our crooked little doe.

Where did she go? Well, she came back on December 9, 2015. And she looked great. Fat and clear-eyed. 

The reason I take photos of these deer every time I see them is because each one has a story.  And the story goes on...Ellen's been with us since 2009. More of Ellen's story is coming up.


Safe and happy travels to you.
Glad you give a quick mention of Ellen--I was expecting that all along.
And, what about Chet B who mentioned something on FB, so I came here.

I'm sure that new travel couple will feel like one of the group in no time.looking forward to Ellen's continuing saga and words of your trip, which sounds epic to me.

"When the snow goes blue in the afternoon, taking all the color from the sky." I love that!
Wishing you the best, best time in CR. Knowing you'll have lots of birds and other cool animals and tons of fun and laughter. With you in spirit!

The faces of those deer are enough to keep me going for a week. You must love watching them from your drawing window.

bask in your adventure ~ namaste

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