It was a little after 4 p.m. today that I watched a full-grown mule deer doe relax in the shade of my garage, taking a break from heat in the high 80s. I could see her eyes open and then half-close again, although her ears remained on full alert.
Then I saw something I hadn't noticed before. The doe was gently swaying her head from side to side. Tiny sways - maybe half an inch - and her haunch was moving to the same beat.
She'd stop the sway, chew a little cud, and then start it up again.
Then, suddenly, some sound grabbed her attention. Her ears both pointed toward the source of the puzzle, bent forward, zeroed in on whatever it was. She remained that way, motionless, for several minutes.
Then she relaxed again, ears back in multidirectional mode. And before long that swaying began again. I have no idea what was going on. But it was as though she was listening to a rhythm no human being could hear. A music of the deers.