Thursday, August 18, 2011

An Unexpected Moment of Beauty

In our suburban town, we are not overrun with wildlife except for squirrels that steal bird food. I gave up on feeding the birds, discovering that there is no such thing as a "squirrel proof" feeder, only one that is "squirrel resistant."  Once I hung a tube feeder on a wire suspended between two trees, forty feet away from either tree.  The squirrels went paw over paw on the wire and then hung upside down to gorge themselves on the seed.  That's when I gave up on bird feeding. Maybe I will try again some day.

Anyhow, we do have the occasional deer sighting as do most suburbans neighborhoods in this area. There is a fox in our neighborhood, and one lady we know can see a fox's den from her back door, complete with kits romping together.We have had possums and raccoons visit our trash cans, although their attentions were not the kind we wanted.

I had an unexpected and beautiful encounter with a wild animal the other day. One of the ways I can reach the retirement home where my father lives is to go down a kind of back street that borders a townhouse community. People from the townhouses park their cars and trucks on the side of the road, which is not paved and slopes down to the back yard of the houses.  The result is a messy looking collection of vehicles jammed together just off (or barely on) the pavement, perched at steep angles on the slope. I realize it's the only option for parking for the residents, but it is not what anyone would call aesthetically pleasing. The cars and trucks also narrow the travel lane, so it's a road I drive down carefully.

I was proceeding down this lane a couple of days ago when I saw something moving between a couple of the cars. I figured it was a dog, and slowed accordingly. It wasn't a dog, though: it was a tiny spotted fawn that walked carefully on its little legs across the road. I stopped for her to cross, thinking there would be a mother doe coming along in a few seconds. She didn't come, and the little creature looked at me for a few seconds and then picked her way across the rest of the road to vanish into some tall weeds on the other side.

Sometimes we seek out beauty in musical performances, art galleries, the faces of small children, the glories of a sunset, or the spectacular colors of autumn leaves. Sometimes we unexpectedly come across beauty, if only in the time it takes for a fragile creature to cross a road.

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