Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I Meant You No Harm

Dear Deer,
     I'm sorry I disturbed your suppers. It's just that your eating time was my walking home time. For the record, I tried to tread lightly, silently, on the path, but you always knew I was there. You watched my every move with your enormous brown eyes. You were full of mystery and stillnes in the dim light. Every evening I hoped I could slip past you without notice. Not a chance.


Please forgive me if I frightened you. Do you know you frightened me too? Especially you with the rack of antlers, who stared me down on the path. And you, the mama who stamped at me one morning. Twice. Were you warning me not to come any closer?  In the end, you all ran when I kept walking.  If I had stopped for you every time, it would have been too dark to see my steps by the time I got home. My sincere apologies for whatever you thought of me.


. I learned that you come out to feed at dawn and dusk, that you go into hiding across noon and midnight, never fully sleeping, always aware of your surroundings, that you rarely bed down twice in the same place, so as not to tip off your predators. You're very clever. I admire that.


Do you know you have no predators on the island? Except for the island authority birth control intervention, that is. I'm sorry about that, too, even if I understand why it's necessary. It's for your own good health, you know. I counted twenty-six of you on one evening walk, a distance of one mile. Your white tails floated above the marsh grass when you bounded off. You are fast. I hope you know how beautiful and mysterious I think you are.

     Thank you for letting me pass your way.                         



Jane Robertson said...

Oh, what a lovely post! I like that it is a letter to the deer. I so like the photos - especially the two heads above the marsh and the last one with four black tails!
They look in good condition. I take it they are 'wild' deer??

NZ is not a good place to be a deer. You could be shot by hunters on the ground or - worse still - from helicopters. As an introduced species they have risen to pest proportions - but I cannot get my head around people (men) shooting animals or birds for SPORT.

Did you read Bambi when you were young Deb??

dkm said...

Saw the Disney version---never actually read Salten's book---but you're making me want to!

Jane Robertson said...

I've got the book somewhere. Joins Beatrix Potter, Kenneth Grahame, AA Milne, Marjorie Flack - and many others who have shaped my adult relationships with animals!! Such important formative influences :-)

NicoleB said...

Beautiful post! I know that feeling when you heart starts to race like the deer's since you startled each other :-D

Niki said...

Deer are gorgeous. There are lots farmed around here, poor things. It doesn't seem right to have an animal like that stuck in paddocks. Our neighbour has a herd and I love watching them. Very graceful. They have mud baths which is so cute :). I didn't realise that they stamp their feet in warning like the sheep do.

dkm said...

Mud baths!
I didn't know sheep stamp like deer do :)

Pukeko G said...

That was a nice read with great photos thankyou .. Do you know if they harvest the antlers (humanely) or not ?

dkm said...

I wondered the same thing, because they are so beautiful. Did some research but couldn't find much. Since they are shed naturally every year at the end of breeding season, then rapidly decompose, my guess is they can be collected if found, but not "harvested." I did read that some boy scouts collect and sell them as a fund raiser. Found some interesting info from the Texas State Parks website: "By this point you may be wondering what happens to all those antlers the bucks are shedding each year and why you haven't found any lying around in the woods. Once antlers are shed, they don't last long in the wild. Since they are storehouses for mineral salts so prized by rodents, they quickly become food for mice, rats, squirrels, and porcupines. As these animals nibble away, the antler's calcium and phosphorus provide nourishment, and the gnawing action it-self helps keep the rodent's teeth worn down. Those antlers not eaten are bleached, softened, and weathered away by the sun and rain until they become part of the soil. Their minerals may one day provide the nourishment for a plant that will be eaten by a buck and in turn provide nourishment for his growing antlers. So go the cycles of nature."

Pukeko G said...

Thankyou .. very interesting that! We are trying to use natural fertilisers for a healthier animal and more sustainable food chain. Its darer though. When I was in Cubs and Scouts some had Woggles of horn or antler. :o}<

Niki said...


Those squirrels get into everything haha :)

dkm said...

Bravo to your natural fertilizer and sustainable food chain!

Woggles and darer---kiwi words?

Niki said...

He meant to type...dearer :)

Woggle...the ring that holds a neckerchief in place. Scouts use them. I had to google. lol

dkm said...

Ah yes---dearer---like buying organic vegetables for the table---but worth it.