Late afternoon yesterday I looked up from my desk through the big window facing south and two bucks were staring at me. Just at the edge of the woods. They had small antler buds which might mean they’re young ones, brothers maybe, but black-tail bucks lose their antlers every January or so and grow new ones in April so maybe these are mature adults. But then I wonder if they’d be traveling together? They looked at me, they ambled, they both darted back to the the bluff they’d just come up, alert as they watched for something I couldn’t see. People have recently encountered wolves just up the mountain behind us and we hear coyotes fairly often so it could have been either. I was reminded of this poem, not because of the snow (luckily we’re spared that!) but because of all the news carried by their presence. The white muzzle and throat of the one on the right, the tentative step forward, then back. And when I went out to greet them, they bounded into the woods, tails high.
Three Deer One Coyote Running
in the Snow
First three deer bounding
and then coyote streaks right after
tail flat out
I stand dumb a while two seconds
blankly black-and-white of trees and snow
good coat, fluffy tail,
sees me: quickly gone.
I walk through where they ran
to study how that news all got put down
—Gary Snyder, from No Nature: New and Selected Poems