She stands a few yards away from her two kids watching them graze on the last of the tall clover on the hill in our back yard every afternoon. Her body is large and dark brown near her haunches and she is by far one of the biggest Does I’ve ever seen. Her fawns are goofy, gawky adolescents. If deer went to school, these two would be sixth grade boys. They are both kind of scrawny and they seem to have door knobs for knees as they trip over themselves and make their way down the bank, each one determined to beat his sibling to the best, sweetest sprigs before Mama calls them both back into the safety of the woods. This is their routine.
Our hound, Maggie, often sees them crossing through the woods as she sits on the futon in the screen porch contemplating whatever it is that beagles toward the end of their lives contemplate. Most nights, she stops thinking long enough to go completely berserk and out of her mind at the sight of the threesome in her woods. This is Maggie’s routine. The deer know from experience that the very loud. long-eared creature in the porch is no wolf. In fact, most evenings they barely even acknowledge the tremendous howling and gnashing of teeth going on just a few feet away from where they are.
The leaves on the maples are just beginning to hint at what’s ahead and all that it will bring for deer, and hound dogs, and the humans who watch the seasons change. Last week, I traveled west across the state to Moorhead where fields of soybeans and corn are now vast seas of burnished copper and gold. The sunflowers that are left in the fields stand in perfect, brown rows, heads bent solemnly down toward the earth from which they sprouted just months (and a lifetime) ago. Canada Geese wait in the fields and sloughs for all their relations to gather for the yearly trip southward.
In Minnesota, there are certain months of the year almost too beautiful and fleeting to bear. May comes to mind.
And then there is September.