I see him now, often; roaming silently through the brush. Looking out the kitchen windows as I start dinner. Reading the mail. I catch sight of the long tips of the now full rack blending with the barren tips of the tree branches. Often, a doe, rushing past, is the first clue that he, or a brother, is nearby. This king of our little forest is the one I wanted to see, however. Thursday, I finally saw him. Close. Eight points, at least. He was there, in sight, right off the deck, then behind the garage – just as Tom was coming in the door.
“Buck” I shouted, floundering for my camera. “Big Buck”.
Tom looked at me for an instant, not quite sure what I was saying, then turned. A few yards away, the king of our little forest walked, majestically, past our arbor, in hot pursuit of his mate.
There we were, like Donner and Blitzen, rushing across our drive and into our neighbors’ yard, in equally hot pursuit of the buck. Most of the herd was out, the boys either resting on the ground or off to side, the girls in high anticipation.
We mostly watched him, the king, and we knew him; the Christmas buck of two years past. He had survived! There is now an almost imperceptible limp of the injured leg. Just enough for us to know, it is him. I invite you to read the story of the late night drama in late December that played out in our front yard to fully understand our excitement at seeing this royal creature again. Be assured,, his rack is kingly, his gait imposing, especially with his slight hesitation. The story is here.
If you click on the pictures twice you can see him. I’m sure he’ll be back, as I’m sure Antler Man will be looking, soon, for the antler sheds.
Two Look at Two by Robert Frost
Love and forgetting might have carried them
A little further up the mountain side
With night so near, but not much further up.
They must have halted soon in any case
With thoughts of a path back, how rough it was
With rock and washout, and unsafe in darkness;
When they were halted by a tumbled wall
With barbed-wire binding. They stood facing this,
Spending what onward impulse they still had
In One last look the way they must not go,
On up the failing path, where, if a stone
Or earthslide moved at night, it moved itself;
No footstep moved it. ‘This is all,’ they sighed,
Good-night to woods.’ But not so; there was more.
A doe from round a spruce stood looking at them
Across the wall, as near the wall as they.
She saw them in their field, they her in hers.
The difficulty of seeing what stood still,
Like some up-ended boulder split in two,
Was in her clouded eyes; they saw no fear there.
She seemed to think that two thus they were safe.
Then, as if they were something that, though strange,
She could not trouble her mind with too long,
She sighed and passed unscared along the wall.
‘This, then, is all. What more is there to ask?’
But no, not yet. A snort to bid them wait.
A buck from round the spruce stood looking at them
Across the wall as near the wall as they.
This was an antlered buck of lusty nostril,
Not the same doe come back into her place.
He viewed them quizzically with jerks of head,
As if to ask, ‘Why don’t you make some motion?
Or give some sign of life? Because you can’t.
I doubt if you’re as living as you look.”
Thus till he had them almost feeling dared
To stretch a proffering hand — and a spell-breaking.
Then he too passed unscared along the wall.
Two had seen two, whichever side you spoke from.
‘This must be all.’ It was all. Still they stood,
A great wave from it going over them,
As if the earth in one unlooked-for favour
Had made them certain earth returned their love.
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