Last Saturday, after a hard afternoon of pretty much nothing I finally found rustled up enough energy to put on my coat, grab a couple cameras and leave my house.
A tiny spot of red drew me toward the edge of the colorless hay field and onto the path leading into the leafless woods. By contrast, above me a white swelling moon was pasted onto brilliant blue sky.
The woods, not as leafless as I first thought, gradually unveiled a winter's bounty. Small crinkled brittle leaves harbored shriveled honeysuckle berries that had remained clinging to the vines throughout whiteout blizzards and tempestuous wind storms. These berries were part of how the robins had existed through the winter. Robins, which had remained quiet until lengthening days pulled songs from their throats, now fluttered among the honeysuckle vines eating their fill.
Winter is hard on wildlife. The small hemlock planted above DEERLICK, had not fared well. (be sure to click on the link to find out about Deerlick.) It appeared that a buck had used the tree to relieve the itch of its antlers this winter as the blood vessels that provided the antler's velvety softness began to die off.
The bare trunk of the young hemlock is a sign that the tree probably won't live. I'll return in the spring to see if it was able to heal.
Nearby were signs of burrows left from last winter still being used. I wrote about the dens twice in 2010 - in the entries: RAMBLING and EARLY MORNING Check them out to decide for yourself if these are coyote dens.
I left the burrows to walk along the timber trail until I came to the edge our hill where I looked back toward the Ohio River ambling around the bend toward Williamstown.
Watching where I stepped, I entered the field trying to be quiet in case there were any deer gathering for the evening which was coming fast.
Soft pinks and lavenders faded into a gentle gray sky above the larger hay field where the grass showed no sign yet of turning green.
I carefully walked along the edge of the field hoping to be there when the deer came out. My stealth paid off as I spotted a deer across the hill. It was a white tail deer that had not yet seen me.
It wasn't long before that changed. As the deer looked on, I froze with the camera up to my eye. Not only did this mean I was ready to take a photograph of the deer, but it made me less recognizable since it covered my face. I was wearing my old brown coat and was standing against the edge of the trees making me a worrisome but interesting sight to this deer. It continued to step closer, stomping a few times and once even jumping at me in an effort to discern just what I was.
Light was quickly fading to a critical point considering that I was zoomed in to maximum.
Yikes! The deer quickly made up its mind, snorted loudly, spun around and was gone . . .
. . .leaving me standing there alone with the moon.
Rapidly darkening skies and cold fingers sent me home where I knew there would be light and warmth.