Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Chance Encounter

A few weeks ago we were dealing with a seemingly endless stretch of high humidity and even higher temperatures (rather unusual in the upper peninsula) which had sent us all indoors to air conditioners or kept us permanently entrenched at the beach. Finally, the temperature and humidity had come down some on Friday, allowing us to finally open windows and venture outdoors without fear of heat exhaustion. Clay had left for a weekend golf tournament and I am lying awake in bed, unaccustomed to the night noises after the steady drone of the air conditioner for so long.

I glance at the clock seeing it read after four in the morning, listening to the soft breeze rustle the leaves outside my window, and wonder what had woke me. The ceiling fan stirs the summer air around the room, and I get up deciding to check on Isabelle next door. I find her tangled in her white sheet, arms spread wide, bleached blonde hair a smear across her pillow in that carefree, puppy-like way that only children sleep. I do the mother-thing and place a light hand on her chest to feel her steady heartbeat strong inside her chest and place a kiss upon her forehead before slipping out the door of her room. For some reason I wander into the office, the furniture in shadow, as I step to the open window and look out on the front yard. And then I see her.

She is laying with her legs neatly tucked underneath her in the middle of my large flowerbed of myrtle, which encompasses six full size oaks. Like a queen on her dais she slowly lowers her delicate brown head to the lush green plants to nibbles off leaves and then raises it to survey the subdivision with her liquid black eyes. The doe's body is large and well-formed, paired with a graceful long neck, tapering into two elongated ears that are flickering back and forth, catching all of the tiny night noises. A slight gleam is coming off of her coat where it reflects the glare of the tall street light just slightly down the way.

I catch myself holding my breath, frozen in place, gazing at this lovely, wild creature which is such a common sight at my camp but more out of place, laying in my very public front yard. But these a.m. hours are a time when the human world and the animal one overlap and blur more easily .... when the neighbors we don't see venture out. And so a chance meeting.

Suddenly the doe shifts her gaze looking directly at the window I am standing in, and I realize I must have made some sound to give away my presence. We both look at one another for a full minute, not moving, before I back away and leave her. After all, this is her time. I crawl back into my bed, where the sheets feel slightly cooler against my skin, and doze off feeling somehow privileged to have met my nighttime visitor.

No comments: