It is not that unusual an occurrence to see a deer emerge from the trees behind our house. We've never seen a buck; but I can't even count the number of times we've been visited by a doe (or even two or three). We'll catch her standing at the edge of our back yard, looking as if she's trying to decide if it's safe to come closer to the house and nibble in our garden. If we're lucky, she's got a spotted young'un--awwww, a little Bambi--trailing behind her, too. It's happened enough times that it shouldn't be that big a deal. But each and every time I see deer friends on our property, I am struck anew by the beauty of these animals, and I run to get my camera and snap some pictures of them through the sliding glass door before they have a chance to dart away.
I know having deer come into the yard on a regular basis presents problems, and it's probably more of a nuisance than a blessing. They eat your bushes and sometimes leave Lyme-infested ticks in your grass. But they are so regal and majestic, so beautiful and serene, and so quick and agile in flight! I still get excited every time they come to visit us.
Years ago, before our cul-de-sac street was developed, the land behind our house boasted some of the best deer hunting in the area. It is thickly wooded, with a babbling brook running right through it past all the back yards on our side of the street. When we first moved in twenty years ago, our neighborhood was brand new. Our house was one of just a handful that had been built yet, so there were empty lots up and down the street. It was still such a wild, almost uninhabited-looking place, and back then, it was not unheard of for orange-vested men with hunting rifles to park their pick-ups in the circle at the end of the road and head off into the trees. Yikes! This was very disconcerting for an overprotective mother, especially one haunted by a tragic news story of the time: there was a woman one state away from us who was out back with her kids one fall day and waved at them with white-mittened hands, and a hunter mistook those flashes of white for the tails of deer. He shot and killed that poor woman while she stood on her own deck. Needless to say, our boys (who were quite young when we moved here) were not allowed to play in the back yard during hunting season! And I never wore white mittens, either. But luckily, we have an expansive front yard that provided our guys with plenty of frog and snake wrangling opportunities, and more than enough room for their epic sessions of "ball tag" with their neighborhood friends.
Since those days, many residential neighborhoods like ours have sprung up around us as our small city has grown and prospered, so the deer population near the brook behind our house has undoubtedly dwindled considerably. But they're still back there; and when they make an appearance, I still run for my camera.