Saturday, May 5, 2018

Oh deer! Oh my! We can't bear it!

Early this morning, when we looked out the study window, the bird feeder pole was flattened to the ground and both the hummingbird feeder and the sunflower feeder had been trashed. We presumed that the neighborhood black bear had visited. S/he’s often stopped by in Springtime, before the natural foodstuffs have become abundant. On past visits, however, the glass hummingbird feeder has remained unbroken.

looked like a bear visited the bird feeder
looked like a bear visited the bird feeder
Photo by J. Harrington

After we’d had a cup of coffee, we put on some shoes and went to clean up the mess. As we came closer, we noticed a number of what appeared to be mole or vole exit holes. They often feed on the feeder’s droppings. While picking up some broken glass, we got a closer look at the “holes.” They were the deep-set hoof prints of a whitetail deer!? A more mindful scan of the ground made soft by burrowers revealed several of our own footprints, more deer hoof prints, but no bear paw prints!

but these are not the paw prints of a bear, they're whitetail deer hoof prints
but these are not the paw prints of a bear, they're whitetail deer hoof prints
Photo by J. Harrington

We can easily understand one or more deer helping themselves to the sunflower seeds that covered the ground. We find it much more difficult to picture a deer knocking down the feeder pole and tromping on the sunflower feeder. On the other hand, we found no bear paw prints and can’t quite pictured a bear breaking the glass nectar feeder with his (her) paw nor biting the glass and breaking it. It's not hard to picture a whitetail hoof striking the glass feeder hard enough to shatter glass. We've been sitting in the woods several times when whitetail does stomped and snorted at us, trying to startle us so they could more readily figure out what we were.

There used to be a tv comedy named “Welcome Back Kotter,” with a teenage jd type named Vinnie Barbarino (John Travolta) who had an infamous line “I am so confused!” Vinnie usually ran his hands through his abundant hair while dramatically exclaiming his confused state. Our hair is no longer what it once was, but we join Vinnie’s perplexity in our assessment of what happened last night at our front bird feeders.

The Poet Contemplates the Nature of Reality



On the side of the road a deer, frozen, frigid.
Go back to your life, the voice said.
What is my life? she wondered. For months she lost
herself in work—Freud said work is as important
as love to the soul—and at night she sat with a boy,
forcing him to practice his violin, helping him recite his notes.
Then the ice thawed and the deer came to life.
She saw her jump over the fence, she saw her in the twilight,
how free she looked. She saw her eyes shiny as marbles,
as much a part of this world as the fence a worker
pounds into the earth. At night she still sat with the boy.
He’s learning “Au Claire de la Lune.”
Do you know it? He has established a relationship
with his violin. He knows that it takes practice to master it:
the accuracy of each note, to wrestle his feelings to the listener.
But he’s impatient. Sometimes what he hears and feels
are not always the same. Again, the poet says.
She knows if he tries to silence his fervor, he might not ever know
who he is. The poet contemplates whether a deer can dream.
Rich blood-red berries on a branch, pachysandra in the garden.
A soft warm bed in the leaves.



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