**

A white tailed tale….

100_0493 Morning was happening but a thick impenetrable wall of fog wasn't going to let any sun shine upon it. The trees stood out in shadowed relief and a gloom pervaded the dawning. Even the backyard squirrels had stayed in their cozy nests leaving a lone chickadee to enjoy an undisturbed breakfast at the feeder. A motion out of the corner of my eye brought me to attention and I looked up to see the lame deer grazing on the creeping myrtle outside the patio doors. She was so beautiful and no matter how many times I had seen her, I was always in awe of her obvious will to survive despite her handicap. Her right hind leg had been mangled somehow.  Was she hit by a car, caught in a trap or had she just snapped her leg by stepping into a hole? I'd never know but I'd watched her solitary quest to live for over a year now and she was as familiar to me as the mourning doves under the feeder. I'd taken to supplementing her diet of greens with some deer food purchased at the local Agway store. A few cups scooped into an old frying pan and placed upon a flat wooden wheel barrow on the back bank became an oasis for her during the unusually long and bitter winter months. She came twice a day and I tried to make sure there was something out there to sustain her. She was so alone and hurt that it made my heart ache to see her. I tried to approach her once as she lay in the winter sun by my shed. I slowly extended a carrot towards her but she was not falling for any interaction with the likes of me!! Over the long months of winter though she became familiar with me and my noisy dogs peering through the windows at her. Still leary of sudden movements but willing to accept my charity, she became a bit more accepting of my presence on the other side of the patio doors. An occasional apple cut into quarters became an evening treat that she munched with obvious pleasure. She would camp out beneath my neighbor's tall evergreen trees where the thick bed of pine needles made an acceptable mattress. She had a path worn down through the icy snow between her bed and her meals. Some days I would see blood stains in the snow when I went out to refill the frying pan with feed. Her disability made maneuvering through the snow very difficult and she had a  bad limp since she was using only three legs but she managed to keep going day after day,  week after week and ultimately month after month until winter was over....finally over. Spring brought new growth to the underbrush and with it new nourishment for her hunger. She would disappear for weeks at a time into the woods across the street from my house where the stream ran freely now offering a refreshing drink along with the new vegetation. But she would make an appearance every so often to forage a bit under the bird feeder and pause for a salad of greens from the bank. The deer feed was no longer needed as she could now fend for herself from nature's bounty... as it should be. I didn't want her to be dependent...I only wanted to help her survive the cruel winter and help her to heal and adjust to her disability. And adjust she did! I thought if she could communicate with me that she would just be one of those stoic patients who never complain of their pain. She would be the best one in the re-hab place! I rejoiced that she had overcome it all. I was so proud of her. I enjoyed her occasional visits through the spring, summer and fall months and began to fret over the upcoming hunting season. Thanksgiving came and on it's heels was the first day of rifle season. Oh how I worried. I could hear shots ring out and I would cringe but then she would come by as if to let me know that she was okay. One day just before Christmas, almost exactly a year from when she first limped into my backyard, she arrived looking for her frypan full of feed. Finding it in its usual place, she proceeded to have dinner as if this was the most natural thing in the world now that winter had set in once again. A few days later she returned with a handsome button buck who she shared her dinner with!! She seemed especially proud to "introduce" him to her tenuous "family" on the other side of the glass!! He was very skittish of the movements within the house and especially of the ruckus made by the dogs, but he eventually became a bit more trusting that we were not going to burst forth and attack him. I had named her Holly since she came to me at Christmas time last year and so I dubbed him "Nick" for the same reason. Our local hunters have been kind...passing the word not to shoot the lame deer... who has become somewhat of a legend in the neighborhood, thanks to social media and word of mouth!! Our beautiful couple have survived the months of hunting season somehow by the grace of God.  I can now relax a bit and just enjoy the visits I that am lucky enough to witness. Hopefully they will avoid traffic and stay to the woods and our little neighborhood so that we can enjoy them for many months to come. I think it's nothing short of a miracle that Holly has survived for over a year and that she has flourished in spite of her handicap. I am so happy that she can now put some weight on her leg and mostly I am grateful that she has companionship after being alone and hurting for so long!! I love that "Nick" looks past her lameness to her beauty as I do. Am I romanticizing this pair?…yes!! But I know what I know and I see what I see and it has been beautiful to my eyes and"dear" to my heart..... 100_2079

2 Comments to A white tailed tale….

  1. bob croom's Gravatar bob croom
    January 16, 2016 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    i said earlier in the week theres a book here maron, what you have written is awesome, please continue it. hopefully in the spring we will see fawns.

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All images and writings presented on this blog are copyrighted and are the property of Maron Craig Bielovitz. As such, it is unlawful to use these images or material without her express written permission