Several weeks had passed since I’d seen the deer step out of the sedges. In the middle of the glade, she’d chosen a soft, round, spot, where water oozed under a determined footstep. I’d spent over an hour near the brush-like thicket, but I didn’t see her go in. The fortress of grass must have seemed a wise choice for the day’s shelter, I told myself. No foe could have penetrated it without the rustling grass betraying event the sneakiest gait. As for the daring fox or stray dog that ventured to chase her, failure surely awaited, after a cumbersome run through a green wall over which the deer would simply leap. There I was again, in the same known glade, not far from the sedge island, when two red, indistinct lumps appeared at its edge. My binoculars brought them into sharp focus: they were two fawns.
The deer I’d seen must have given birth there, and I’d probably spotted her during nursing hours.
I rushed towards them under the cover of the forest, but my rush soon turned into a slow, crouching, step by step advance. As I reached the tall grass I stood up stealthily, camera pressed against my eye, doing my best to act the tall ‘stump’ who just happened to appear there. But the ‘kids’ didn’t mind me: one was grazing, the other one cavorting all over the place. Every now and then the hungry one would play along, briefly, then resume his luncheon. Too caught up in their play, they won’t notice my walking, I thought. And, snail-like, I edged forward. It’s working! It’s really working!
The gap between us had narrowed quite a bit when the playful one spotted me. I froze in my tracks as he eyed me intently, seemingly forgetting all about his frolic. Yet something about my ‘stumpness’ assuaged him. No – he definitely hadn’t forgotten about his fun and games… As I resumed my advance, my movements – though just as measured and silent as before – did not escape the gaze of the ‘watcher’. Though he seemed absorbed in his joyful jumps, it became clear that the novelty item in his surroundings had made an impression. He was playing, but playing attentively. Though – like all children – not also cautiously. Spurred on by the curiosity of youth, he started to come closer. From time to time he would stop, puzzled, wiggling his ears – a mark of anxiety – yet he couldn’t resist. He just had to find out what the deal was. You should have seen him…
photo: Nicolae Dărărmuș
As the wind was blowing towards me, my scent did not betray me. When only a few steps were left between us, he’d found his answer, a short tail turned towards me, and he was gone. Peace was there.
March 28, 2016