opening the front door
a crack to let the cat in,
a buck gazing back at me
Most of the year I rarely see a buck, though sometimes I hear one snorting in the woods. They are loners and stay away from places that smell of humans. But in autumn they're suddenly everywhere.
One night when we were coming home on the back road, I saw green eyes and slammed on the brakes. The buck was starting to cross the highway, but when he saw my headlights he shied away, heading straight up the road, then turned and finished crossing. I was glad he didn't bolt into the truck.
The other morning I saw one just standing beside the gravel road, his head turning from side to side like a child looking both ways before crossing. It made me laugh, that big animal swiveling his antlers as I passed.
This afternoon, because it was cold, I opened the door just far enough to let our ginger cat in. Through the narrow opening I could see a magnificent buck in the yard about 20 feet away. He looked in the direction of the sound, but didn't move. I quietly retreated to fetch my camera and was able to get one good shot before he moved out of range. When I opened the door a bit more, he got suspicious and bounded into the trees, white tail raised. It's hunting season and hunters are out all around us in the harvested cornfields, but we live in a residential association that does not allow hunting. I've seen this buck several times lately, though never this close to the house. Somehow I think he knows he's safe in our territory. Maybe he can tell from our scent that we're harmless.