Sunday, June 13, 2010

The sound of water

It's kind of silly to think very much about the wanderings of urban deer. After all, most of them are born-and-bred urban natives, unafraid of people or dogs, able to look both ways when crossing a street, calm at sudden traffic noises they'd never hear in the woods.

But their ears still are up.

Today a lone doe, lounging in my back yard, contentedly chewing grassy, leafy cud, legs curled up beneath her body, was the picture of contentment.

Then, from behind a double-pane window and a strong steel door, I happened to (rather quietly, I thought) set a glass on my kitchen counter. The mule deer's ears swiveled immediately, its eyes staring straight at me in the window. It kept eye contact, refusing to look away. Finally, after about a minute, it did. But then I dropped an empty frozen-food box into my garbage can. It dropped with a predictable little noise.

The deer's ears twitched again. Eyes stared at me, through the glass. It wanted to know: Should I be alarmed?

Finally, before I left my viewing post, I ran a stream of water into my sink - louder, I think, than anything else I had done. The doe paid no attention. Running, splashing water wasn't an alarm.

Some 10 minutes later, the doe walked away, out of my yard and across the street. Off to other pastures. Reminded, maybe, of the sound of water.

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