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Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Right in your own backyard

Our dishwasher has been broken for a long, long time. Which means that someone in our house spends a lot of time sloshing sudsy water while gazing out the window over the sink.

This evening, sloshing and staring, I noticed a dark spot next to the pile of brush, old buckthorn I'd cut last time I wanted to let off steam. The steam goes fast: I never seem to have enough left to haul the damage away and convert the chaos to tidy roadside bundles suitable for pick-up.

The dark area shifted and I looked harder.

There it was I saw what I shall never forget
And never retrieve.
Monstrous and beautiful to human eyes, hard to
believe,
He lay, yet there he lay,
Asleep on the moss, his head on his polished cleft
small ebony hooves,
The child of the doe, the dappled child of the deer.

  - Edna St. Vincent Millay

It was a late fawn, still wobbly on its legs when it rose to test and stretch them a bit before curling back to groom itself and later snooze.

Beauty like that smacks you awake. I watched for the longest time, tracing the web of delicate veins in its transluscent ears, watching its surprising lightning tongue tasting grass and cleaning its foreleg.

It was still there hours later. Where was its mother? I suspect she is the adolescent beauty I chased out of the garden yesterday, not the scarred and crippled veteran  who limps each year with twins to eat the windfall apples underneath the dying tree. The old one's wary; the young one doesn't know to be afraid.

Worried, I called Tom Gaertner, who was in a meeting, and then the Humane Society. That's what they do, the volunteer assured me. The mothers leave the fawns in safe places all day and return at night to nurse them. Just keep the dogs and kids away.

Perhaps she's there now. If we are very lucky, the fawn will stay with us another day.

And I'll be looking out the window more, I think.

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