While I was upstairs changing into my work clothes a few afternoons ago the Baron stopped by, elegant as you please, walked into my garden and started casually marking his territory on my territory, specifically on my momiji tree, in the corner between the blueberries and the compost. I think of garden and tree as mine in that way peculiar to humans, though the Baron knows better, as his attitude makes clear. Because in deer fact, the tree and what I call my territory comprise just a small part of his family's vast ancient holdings; they go way back in these parts, and he knows it. Facts are facts, are they not, whatever the species.
The Baron has a much bigger crown of antlers this year; he wielded them with impressive grace as he rubbed his head here and there along the multiple trunks of the low-branching tree as evidence of possession. At some point, though, he being near my vegetables, I felt I had to remind him that despite his pedigree and borderless familial heritage there were members of another species using this land who have priorities other than random forage, but how do you just come right out and say such a thing to aristocracy with antlers.
At a loss for words, I opened the windows wide like glass wings spreading, then closed them again, then did the same again a few times, sort of being a giant butterfly, whatever that might mean to an antlered ruler, me whistling the while and making other sounds to remind him of the situation and act like I am larger than I am, which sometimes works with nobility, especially the wild kind. He paused and looked my way, trying to determine what was going on with those oddly transparent wingy things on the side of that big strange shape that the two-legged antlerless creatures have erected on this spot and go into and come out of ever since, all without his permission.
He thought for a deer while about what he was seeing and hearing, and deemed the situation an unwelcome perturbation. He casually turned, nose in the air, as nobility does in all cases, trotted back along the hedge, down the stone stairs and out onto the greater portion of his domain. The land wasn't going anywhere, as he well knew; nor was his well-marked momiji.
He paused outside the gate looking this way and that, in the certainty inherent to his lineage that all was well, by and large: he had marked his tree, he had made his point and it was sufficient; that was then, this is now. He turned upmountain, walked along the unnatural roadway for a bit until he came to a fully Baron-scented section of forest he enjoys, and became it.