Monday, March 07, 2005


Early yesterday evening, just as the sun was setting behind the mountain, I was upstairs at the computer doing much the same as I am doing right at this very moment when I heard a sound outside that resembled the bamboo-whanging of a spirited kendo match, which I knew right away was ridiculous, for there haven't been any kendo matches up in this part of the forest since the beginning of time, according to my records. Accompanying that noise was a sound like those party favors that emit an extended disharmonious tweet. Very strange sound combo for a mountain forest.

I went to the upstairs window and looked out into the dimming light, and there across the road, in the Golden Palace of the Baron, were two stags fighting. One was The Baron, the other was an upstart looking to make his way in the world. They charged and Whang! A dozen kendo shinai met. Then again they charged, both stags emitting that nasal party-favor sound. Majestic stance, noble profile, powerful tines, nasal 'fweeeeep...' After a few of hornlocks the newcomer with the smaller white tail gave it up and trotted off, The Baron following close behind, powered to a great extent by my spinach.

I thought that was the end of it, but this morning as E and I were walking toward the north in the big open space of the terraced paddies, in the distance we saw one stag chasing another down the slope and across the terraces (in broad daylight no less!) the one being chased now and then turning to attack, then giving up and running off again. It was the Baron and the interloper locking horns once more, only this time The Baron was really and righteously driving the Big Stag wannabe away.

I was afraid they might come galloping toward us with all those antlers, but by the time we got to the spot, the two were long gone. I still don't understand that wimpy 'fweep' as a powerful masculine sound threat, though; I should think they would have developed a rich whinny or a suitable bellow by now, like I have...

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