We awoke this morning with two winter frocked deer lounging under a pine tree by the pond. The tree, right at the edge of the woods, provides some screening, but the two nearly blend into the brown leaves and dirt. In the woods behind the tree and the pond there were at least 5 more deer, but you can only see them when they move, their limbs completely camouflaged by the bare sticks and branches. Sometimes if you squint to blur the branches, you can see their black noses and white tails.
Above the pond and the pine tree, way up high in the long straight trees, are numerous squirrel nests. You would never know they were there in the spring and summer. In the winter they sit precariously in the crooks of the trees. On warm winter days the squirrels venture away from home and bounce around the trees.
A few minutes after we noticed the deer, a squirrel appeared on the deck. He was one irritated squirrel. His rapid heartbeat was visible right through his fur. Nutkin perched himself between the slats in the railing and glared at those deer. Finally, making his move, he creeped over to the right along the back of the house, under the swing, and through the pine trees on the other side of the yard. And then, we saw him perched on a pond rock. Picking his footing carefully and never, not even for a moment, taking his eyes off of those giant deer, he knelt down for a quick drink.
Then, in an instant, he flicked his tail and sprinted up the Redbud tree. Spooked, the deer sprang to life and raced into the woods. Nutkin hung out in the nook of the Redbud for a minute, flicking his tail and then continued up the maze of branches to his clump of leaves in the crook of his fine straight tree, obviously victorious.
The deer are still back in the woods. I can see them move as I type this- like ghostly branches picking their way through the mud and fallen logs with their pointed toes as if four legged ballerinas. Sometimes I catch the glimpse of the black velvet nose or the white flipped tail.
Nutkin is either settled down for a nap or regaling his family with his exploits.