Sunday, August 9, 2009

Visitors number three, four, five and a returning guest

Yesterday our friend Marie arrived at the train station mid-day with her daughter Inan and Inan's friend FeiFei; the house and garden have been filled with eight- and nine-year-old energy. At one point the head of a neighbor girl appeared over the fence; she was standing on her mother's shoulders to peer over because they'd heard the two little girls far in the back of the garden crying Help, help! It was no emergency; they needed a broom or something to sweep spiderwebs out of the playhouse. It was nice to know that, if you screamed, someone would indeed hear you.

All day and evening, the vibrating dyad made me remember aspects of childhood I'd forgotten: very precise needs when it comes to food (clear glass from which to drink milk, no mixing of different sorts of foods, a certain number of ice cubes per glass of water, etc etc), much exchange of dominance, concern with who's copying who, an all-day-long working out of friendship's alternating pleasures and struggles. Tears laughter pleasure frustration all moving freely from one to another. At the bay beach, much concern with sand in the bathing suit, crabs, the possibility of being nibbled on the toes by fish. By ten o'clock I could barely keep my eyes open.

This morning, when we were just waking up Paul looked out the bedroom window and called, There's a deer in the garden! It was the first time we've actually seen one inside the fence. I went running out, and she startled and ran up toward the back, under the big oak. Big liquid dark eyes,a good-sized doe, maybe pregnant? She ran forward again, jumped a stone wall, and then squeezed herself under the gate through a space the size of, well, two shoeboxes, then took off down the lane toward the woods.

She ate the rest of the daylilies, some apparently really delicious black-eyed susans. Impossible to be annoyed.


Peter said...

I sent this yesterday but I must have clicked on the wrong box.


Blame the shallow
gate between
the doe’s
and the daylily’s

the wild inhuman
and the cultivated
weeds between
fog and coffee
animals feeding

on dreams
and a woman
in a seaside room
who’s already
bloomed forever.

Mark Doty said...

Peter, that's really lovely. And you've made my seeming randomness here feel coherent!

Spencer Troxell said...

I love the part about the deer in the garden. I understand your impulse! It's almost disappointing when wild animals don't scurry away from us.

Good post.

Literary Magpie said...

No deer is about to give birth this time of year. The rut starts July/August and the babies are born April/May.

Mark Doty said...

Jory, this is from

"With good health and good nutrition, whitetailed deer are prolific breeders. Examination of ova 600 does in Nebraska has shown about 60 percent breed as fawns (when they are about six months old) and virtually all of the older deer produce young. At least a portion of the buck fawns are capable of reproduction. Breeding commences in mid October and peaks in mid-to-late November for adults, and about one month later for fawns. A buck may mate with several does - up to 20 has been noted under pen conditions. Fawns are born after a gestation period of about 201 days, from early May through late September, with about 60 percent of the total born in June."

Maybe our lusty east coast whitetails have different habits than the deer you're used to?

Literary Magpie said...

I stand corrected about the sex life of deer. *adjusts john deere hat* Well ya'never know!

Mark Doty said...

It's true, the fawns ripen and drop around here like lovely spotted figs.

bill said...

...and to be added to the numerous visitations, the arrival of a day of celebration...happy birthday mark..

listener said...

It seems the doe left as much as she took. ♡

We had a bear here last week with enormous shoulders, impervious to my early protests, neatly busting open the new, expensive, squirrel-proof feeder I'd so short-sightedly purchased just two days before.
What I remember most is the gruff sound of the bear's breathing and snuffling, inches from where I was standing briefly on the merely screened porch. Then the massive frame of the bear bounding uphill with ease as he left, like some gazelle.

I'm okay with the loss of the feeder,
but now the birds cannot be fed here for a whole month.

Nature gives. Nature takes. We are changed.

~ June Schulte, Goddard '90
(I left a typo last time when I wrote '93!)

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

Good Day

Some days I just smile in wonder,
await whatever small miracle
next will come my way:
a Monarch or a tree snake
or a hawk.

On other days I sit and I ponder
who’ll die next,
why life must be so hard.

But today, nobody died
and I saw a deer in my backyard.

Copyright 2009 - Tall Grass & High Waves, Gary B. Fitzgerald