Wednesday, January 19, 2011

breaking through snow crust

breaking through snow crust,
three does with fawns in a row –
trailing after, not
too close, not too far, a young
buck with pronged antlers

We count three pairs of does and fawns as they walk through our yard between the house and the woods. Each fawn keeps close behind her mother and then there is a little space and another pair appear. One doe stops and looks south, away from the house, for a long moment. Finally, after all the females have gone into the woods and are out of sight, a yearling buck appears, hurrying a little, as if to catch up. But then he, too, stops and looks to the south, then turns his head over his shoulder for a scratch before moving on through the woods in the same direction. He must have been the fawn of one of the does the year before, as they stay with the mother for two years, but now that he has antlers, he keeps his singular distance.

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