Thursday, January 22, 2004


Talking with my upmountain neighbor the other day, he was out trimming snowbroken branches from the cedars and some from the oaks (the acorns do a day-and-night-drum-roll on his roof every autumn, something to think about if you're thinking of building near oaks) and I was out checking the shiitake for more buttons, getting some ginger (keeps real well when just left in the ground, I learned this year) and greens, and pondering a place for the bay tree, which is getting too big for its container, will have to be planted-- preferably soon-- when his and my paths converged near the tree line and he told me that the other morning he looked out his kitchen window at the back and there was a multipoint buck an arm's length away, eating acorns from the ground. Trying to be as quiet as possible, he ran for his video camera but when he got back the buck was gone. That's probably the same deerfellow that dined so crudely on my biwa tree.

I look out my windows all the time, seen monkeys, pheasants, ferrets, quail, mamushi, raccoons and rabbits, but I've never seen a deer. Or a bear or a wild pig, though they're around here too, and I'll probably see them all, sooner or later. But my neighbor, who has just moved here from the city, was way more excited by the encounter than the deer was, and now because he couldn't get his camera in time, when he visits his friends in the big urb he'll have to find the words to do the vision justice in telling them the story of his forest spirit, the same way such stories have always been told by seers vouchsafed visions, the tellers of tales to be remembered, for a million years before such stories led to us...

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