I see her in the pre-dawn and post-sunset times, when it is dark enough that I have to look twice to see her, to make sure that what looks like legs aren’t really saplings, that her sleek coat isn’t a boulder. Often, it is the flick of her ears or tail that gives her away. Last night she stood in an open area just off the lane and watched as I walked past with Sparrow. She believed herself invisible and watched us pass.
Sometimes she stands in the open, in the middle of the lane to watch, knowing she can take a few steps and disappear into the forest. I saw her lay down for the night in knee-high undergrowth, turning invisible in an instant. This morning Skye and I woke her up. I didn’t see her but I heard her snort and then heard her footsteps as she moved deeper into her patch of forest.
She seems hale and hearty, though it is odd that she isn’t with other deer. She seems content to stay in the narrow band of forest between my cabin and the ski slopes. I have seen her nibbling grass around the boulder that sits in front of my neighbor’s house. A pond is nearby, and even closer is a small spring, hardly more than a seep, in her little woods.
Perhaps she is the one who nibbles my juniper bushes in winter. Perhaps she is the one who gets any apples that are too far gone for me or my chickens. I consider her a neighbor, too, though that is a temporary arrangement. Winter is coming, and winters are hard on old deer, even should the winter be a mild one, and even if she stays as healthy as she looks this morning.