Late July, that’s when we first became aware of it, the long light of summer. Rays of late evening sun promising fewer hotter days to come. In the evening the grass cooled, and the world around refreshed itself for a short time before night fall.
I made my way to the chicken coop, an old dilapidated construction of old church board and corrugated tin. It had been opened to the south to serve as a loafing barn; and in an effort to protect the animals after several “murders” was reinforced with two interior cages. A plastic pool for bathing and drinking completed the estate known as Fort Francis and Snow White’s Castle.
Each night I made my way to the coop just before the last rays of sun slipped behind the woods in the north west. From the west window of Fort Francis, looking south through the coop I saw Francis himself. Still. Looking upwards, his head tilted to the left. I took a few more steps; cautious and curious. Then I saw Cindy, Razor Beak, Mo’Kah, and Gray Wing all looking up with their heads tilted in various bird positions. A hawk? I looked up and saw nothing in the sky.
I continued slowly and what I saw as I rounded the southwest corner of the coop was a new visitor. She raised her head slowly. “Oh, hello.” I said softly to the young doe sipping water from the pool, only five feet away from me. Without any sort of start, the deer turned and walked into the woods. The birds themselves, the chickens and ducks, seemed almost as amazed as I was. She was really beautiful. And I wondered how long they had been watching her.
Time for bed little guys.