Friday, November 12, 2004


There I was at dusk, standing atop the fresh-cut pile of hinoki (Japanese cypress) logs down at the bottom of the garden, when in the stillness I heard a bird chattering warning high in the forest across the road, so I stopped to listen for what might be the matter.

Soon I heard a large rustling that drew nearer: then there was the buck, standing with his head out in the open at the edge of the road; he'd stopped there midstep because I'd moved, craning my neck to see over the azalea hedge what the noise might be.

He was the picture of majesty, just his head and shoulders visible, must be a 14 pointer at least, though I couldn't see well and other things were edging through my mind; the wind was crosswise of us, so he couldn't get my scent, but he knew something was there so froze, and as I looked at him it was dawning on me that he was about 1/10 of a second away, chargewise, and this was his turf.

He couldn't really see me clearly in this light or tell what I was because of the wind so he might take it into his multi-tined head to assert his rights - he could leap over this hedge in a twinkling - and though I'd seen him several times at a distance I had no real idea of his character, so even though it isn't exactly mating season and he owed me a lot of spinach I decided it would be better to pursue the better part of valor.

When I got up to the deck I looked and he was still there staring; I called Echo out to have a look and he stared at us a while, then turned and loped back into his vast golden palace. I figure you can't really begrudge a guy like that a little spinach.

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