|somewhere south of Bedford, VA|
Her eyes are night dark, rolled in a ball against milky moon white. In them I see myself with the sun at my back. Her long lashes bat, not in interest as much as curiosity, unsure of my nearness. Neither of us breathes or makes a noise.
She has two children with her, scavenging. Anything they find instantly goes in their mouths to be worked over by tongues eager for flavor. If they notice the silent exchange between their mother and me, they make no indication.
A question sits between us, unanswered. Intentions.
There is no shame in her expression. Fear surely. Life is not easy, evidenced in her ragged edges. She twitches, takes another bite of a piece of fruit, letting her eyes waver from me.
You are safe.
Yes, I mean you no harm.
Ok, but keep your distance. Let us finish and we'll move on.
She shows me her back. Checks on her children. Rummages around for another morsel to chew herself. Quick looks assure her I have not moved.
Leaves rustle on the trees. Birds sing again, sweet & high. The grass shimmers. Cars pass on the road behind us.
She gathers her young.
A slight dip of her head. They walk the few steps to the service road that carves the boundaries of my property. She looks back, then they sprint into the forest. A blur of brown. A flash of white. Out of sight in the undergrowth.
I wait a few minutes longer, my cat, white and black, slinks around the corner and we re-enter our home.
Happy Sunday! We have a family of about seven deer that sleep in our back yard just about every night. They eat what fruit falls to the ground and just about anything they can find in the grass...and I leave them some treats as well. This time of year, the herd gets thinned a bit by the hunters. They had two fawns a couple years ago and they are growing up nicely.