Saturday, August 16, 2008

Our new neighbors

Above our rental house is a steep, narrow untended triangle of land covered with tall, dry weeds. It is there, hidden and secure in the overgrowth, that a doe recently gave birth to twin fawns. When we first met them, they were dainty, spotted, awkward little wonders and looked to be just a few days old. They're almost as big as their mom now, and their spots are fading. Whoever owns that neglected strip of land hired someone to come cut down the brush, but the lack of ground cover has not kept the twins and their mother from coming back. Sometimes, they are joined by a young buck with a stubby, two-pronged rack. The whole family sleeps there at night when they're not right outside the house, making an evening meal of our landlord's bushes.

We do our best to be good neighbors to the deer next door. (I tried to feed them once but the carrots I put out remained untouched). We drive slowly up and down the street for fear one of the bamblets should leap out from behind the bushes. If we park in front of their turf, they maintain their serene insouciance as we drive in and out, slam car doors, unload groceries and catch up on the day. I haven't tried honking, which wouldn't be very nice, but I suspect no one in the deer family would flinch. Once in a while, our yorkie Winston remembers he's supposed to bark at deer, which doesn't phase them anymore than we do.

When you live in close proximity to a walking smorgasbord of venison, it's hard not to give an occasional paranoid thought to mountain lions. Just last week, one was sighted in someone's yard ten blocks from us. I flash on that when I'm walking Winston on a moonless night. Sometimes I hear rustling in the bushes or catch a glimpse of a dark silhouette. I keep telling myself it's only our deer friends.

PS I took the deer pix but the mountain lion is from google images. If I ran into this fellow on one of my walks, I wouldn't stop for a photo op and ask him to smile and say "Bambi".

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