Deer grazing in the snow outside the front door

Deer grazing in the snow outside the front door

It’s Day #2 of this year-long “outside” commitment.  I would have never ventured outside today for fun or exploration without this crazy plan of chronicling every single day out in the outdoors. 

First there was work this morning, and we’re leaving for a nearby city in a couple hours for Christmas shopping.  So the Mind ordinarily says, “there’s no time for being outside.  You’ve got dishes to wash!  Work to do!  Home fires to stoke.  And besides, it’s coooooooold out there.  Stay inside!”

Fortunately, this commitment silences that voice.  So after work I dressed in outdoor garb for 5 degrees.  That means:  heavy sweater, hooded sweatshirt, my deceased Grandma’s snowmobile suit from the early 1970’s, two pair socks, heavy ultra-insulated boots from last Christmas’ gift-giving fun, knit hat, warm woolen mittens and….well, that must have been it.  Oh, and grab the camera for taking pictures.

It was warm everywhere except on the cheeks.  But red cheeks are apropos for the holiday season, right?  Also, the fingers became instantly numb after clicking about six photos of snow-covered trees and stumps.  Which picture to post on the blog?  I maneuvered out of the ravine behind our house with its nine to eleven inches of snow (thankfully didn’t need snowshoes yet) and hurried back into the house to look for, with fogged glasses, a ruler to measure the depth of snow.  Stepping back out on the front porch….look at all those does! 

The deer in the photo are family friends.  They visit often.  We can’t get too close to them, yet they’re not scared like stranger-deer.  One of them is named Lempi (a good Finnish sounding name, don’t you think?) because she limps.  She was probably struck by a car.  She’s raised a couple young’uns since her injury, and we keep hoping she’ll make it through the long winters.  Since this winter looks especially vicious, we’re really keeping our fingers crossed.  We throw our vegetable scraps beneath the oak tree, and the deer paw for them.  Later they’ll disappear into the cedar swamps when the snow gets too deep for long treks.

The deer stare quietly as I attempt to figure out the zoom function on the camera.  They lower their heads and munch.  Yet they’re ready to run in three seconds if I venture even a step closer.  You could tame these deer, perhaps, but it might be more cruel to lull them into thinking humans are generally loving considerate souls.  There’s a lot of hunters around these parts who like good venison.  In our pre-vegetarian days, we’ve eaten venison.  Now we give them our veggie leftovers; a better trade, don’t you think?

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