Wednesday, July 24, 2002


On Sunday O. came over while I was out firewooding to tell me that a stag was trapped in the river just the other side of his field; it had been chased from the forest by dogs, and had been bitten, was bleeding, and was at bay (or hiding) in a vine-overgrown pool below one of the waterfalls. When I got there I saw one large, white-rimmed but very fiery eye staring out from the shadows of the stag's trap-hideaway, little stars of danger gleaming off the sharp ivory tips of his antlers for he was a twelvepoint buck at least, and a big one, ready to lay waste if the dogs didn't leave him alone, one of them a very disreputable looking cur, savage roughcoat type, lives mostly wild but has a collar, still prowling the bank relentlessly above, certain there was a buck at bay around here somewhere, he wasn't too smart that dog, ran when we threw stones while waiting for animal rescue type people to arrive or somebody to do something but what can you do for a 500 pound twelvepoint buck on tenterhooks in the heart of mating season with his razor antlers dangling kuzu vine and his temper at knife edge, darts of redness shooting from fiery eyes down there in the depths of the brush, except wish him well and stay out of the way in case he makes a sudden attempt with all that wild unstinted muscle to break free and he was up the bank in the same reflexive instant I got very out of the way in, and when I got up and looked again there was no fire-eyed stag, only the gusting wind and the steady whisper of water, and an empty place where the fullest wildness of flesh had been but a moment ago.

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