Tail End of a 2011 Longleaf Summer

I went walking at precisely the wrong time today. Noon. The sweltering sun at its zenith. And yet. Buck had taken a few minutes before lunch to work out on the weight bench. I was frustrated with my lack of focus, and told him I was going down to the gate. we agreed we would take a swim and have some lunch when I got back.

Approaching the stream bed, two graceful whitetail deer woke me up to my life as they leaped from woods to woods across the gravel road. Thanks to them I got out of my stuffy head and into the moment. Suddenly there was beauty or arresting ugliness everywhere, Sensations were sharp. Life is simply better when you’re not asleep.


All the others scuppernongs (fox grapes) are gone, but this natural arbor was too high for the deer to reach, or me, either They are beautiful.


This grotesque black mushroom is magnificently horrible. I poked it with a stick and ugly little bettle-ish bugs crawled out.


Buck and I kept seeing this flash of white at the edge of the woods out back. I finally walked out there today. Don’t know the name, but it sure is pretty.


The American Beauty (French mulberry) is a harbinger of fall. Seems like it has begun to bloom early. Okay by me.


Yesterday, I led Maggie out the front door for a slow, short walk around the driveway to woods edge. She hobbled, then warmed to it, and walked out from the border of grass into the recently bush-hogged brush where her good nose picked up a scent of something that interested her. I walked quickly over when I realized she had picked up speed and was about to dive into the woods.

“Maggie, no! Stop!” I shouted. Last thing I wanted was to lose her in the thick brush. Too late. She was gone.

And then, only about six feet from me, a tiny spotted fawn sprinted across the clearing. Maggie was in lukewarm but very interested pursuit. The baby bleated, “Aahck!” It sounded like a peacock. I ran, grabbed Maggie by the collar and began walking her back toward the house. She strained against my hold, but never barked. She made weird guttural huffing sounds and watched the fawn. It had run into the plastic sliding doors of the pool house. I looked and saw that it was pressed against the plastic, all brown spots, toothpick legs and big eyes. Thunderclaps spiced the air and big raindrops began to fall. The baby cried out again.

I got Maggie back into the house. She was so charged up she ran into the master bedroom to see if she could see the deer from the glass doors there, but the angle was wrong. Finally she came back to the foyer and stood staring out the front door, still breathing heavily.

By this time the sky had fallen with thunder and heavy rain.

Buck and I put Maggie into the garage and drove to the grocery store to pick up supper supplies. The baby was gone.

This morning I saw a big doe patrolling the area. Mama. Good.

As for Maggie, she had a big adventure. The vet has approved an aspirin regimen to go along with her twice daily doses of SAMe and Cosequin. Her metabolism has settled back down and the pain seems to have ameliorated for now, thank heavens. It was a joy to see her get all revved up, even though the baby deer was scared half to death. Maggie wasn’t baring teeth or growling. She was just curious and, for a moment, young again.

Yesterday. Today. Good days.

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