It's getting to be that time of year again -- when early morning runs are accompanied by a soundtrack of leaves crunching underfoot and rifles firing in the distance.
The new farm is home to a good-sized group of deer. I've seen two separate bucks and several does. I happen upon them nearly every time we drive the road, but I love to come up on them when I'm on foot, running the road. That's when I'm able to hear them talking to each other, warning one another of the approaching danger. Things about them remind me of my goats. They're beautiful and strong.
And, yet . . . I know that when we establish our orchard and gardens, they will become my enemy. They'll become my new squash bugs. So, I'm not completely against inviting hunters to the farm this fall. If the menacing deer can be removed AND provide food for a table, I'll get on board. But, I do still feel a twinge of sadness for the strength and beauty that is so easily and quickly snuffed out -- for all the Swirlers I've shared a moment with on our farm.
Thinking of Swirler: a poem by Mary Oliver
One day I went out
into a wonderful
it was fall,
the pine trees were brushing themselves
against the sky
as though they were painting it,
who was alive then,
through the green bog,
as thick as an ox,
brushing against the trees
his three good feet tapping
the softness beneath him
and the fourth, from an old wound,
I know he saw me
for he gave me a long look
which was as precious as a few
since his eyes
were without terror.
What do the creatures know?
What in this world can we be certain about?
How did he know I was nothing
but a harmless mumbler of words,
some of which would be about him
and this wind-whipped day?
In a week he would be dead,
arrowed down by a young man I like,
though with some difficulty.
In my house there are a hundred half-done poems.
Each of us leaves an unfinished life.