Last week, we spent several days “up north” at Howie and Sally’s cottage on Oxbow Lake. It’s a great place to relax and to experience some remnants of wildness — bald eagles, loons, deer, wild turkeys, once in a while a bear.
Soon after we arrived, Sally shared with us the tale of an early spring experience. It is the story of an encounter with wildlife in their cottage world. It’s a simple tale, yet it touched me deeply.
Early this spring, upon their arrival at the cottage, absorbed in the flurry of activity involved in settling in for comings and goings all summer long, Sally looked up through her kitchen window to see a doe standing only a few feet away, staring at her. The deer literally stayed there for the rest of the day, determinedly staring toward the window.
The next day, the doe was out of sight, but all day long Sally and Howie heard her — a sort of bleating sound coming from somewhere in the woods nearby. On and on it went, with almost no let-up — a sound full of distress and agitation.
On the third day, the bleating stopped. At some point later that day, Howie was startled to discover a dead newborn fawn, lying in a small space below one corner of the deck. What sounded so mournful the day before was, indeed, just that: Or so it certainly seemed.
Surely, this was an experience of being truly a part of a wild creature’s world for a brief period of time. A doe’s desperate sharing of distress. A doe trying so hard to communicate with two humans. And for Howie and Sally, a brief but poignant connection with one of the wild things of the world and a glimpse into its inner life.