Friday, January 22, 2016

Listen To The Animals

A few days into the New Year LC was walking back to his truck in the parking lot of Walmart in Blackfoot when an elderly man approached him.
The guy didn't remember LC, but LC remembered him.
We had met the man in a fishing tackle store up in Mackay late last summer, had talked to him for a good while about local happenings, and we remembered that he was retired but still kept himself very busy by cutting and then selling wood (which is a major home heating source in this region of the country).
The man (whose name is Duke) walked up to LC in the Walmart parking lot and out-of-the-blue asked LC how much he wanted for his truck.
 Although we had occasionally talked about selling the Ford truck, we had never followed up on it.
The mileage was beginning to creep above 175,000 miles (which is not unusual out west).  There were minor things that were beginning to go wrong with it.  And with that knowledge, LC told Duke that he would think about it.
After exchanging phone numbers LC arrived home and told me of the unexpected interaction.
A week later we sold the truck for $600 more than we had paid for it when we picked it up in Tennessee four years ago.
With a well maintained Tahoe and a well maintained Suburban, I had assumed that we would pick up an old beater truck at some point once the weather broke in the spring (something to haul wood etc), so I was surprised when almost right away LC started looking for another truck.
 After beginning the search I immediately began to realize just how overpriced and under-maintained moderately priced trucks actually were in this area.
And how much people willingly and without remorse or embarrassment will lie right to your face.
The thing about living in a place like Atomic City is that whenever we need something we have to travel at a minimum 30 minutes one way.
We searched endlessly online.  We found online.  We made the phone calls and asked the right questions.  They lied.  We went to look.  We quickly realized that they had lied.
For a couple of weeks straight we replayed this same frustrating scenario over and over.  
One day a week or so ago (after returning from one more long trip to one more town to look at what turned out to be one more piece of junk) we were a minute from home when I looked up and realized that some of the town deer were standing in the middle of the road right in front of the house.
Carefully pulling into the driveway in front of the house, LC grabbed Korys' leash and quickly took her inside
I, in the meantime, reached into the pocket of my winter coat and pulled out my camera, eager to take a few quick pictures of this unexpected deer sighting...............
The three deer were instantly curious about me and I stood in one place, wondering how close they would come to me.
The youngest of the three made me smile.
 I knew that this was one of the babies that I had watched grow up.  I had known this little one from the time she was a tiny, spotted baby, and now here she was standing in front of me and almost grown.................
After quickly snapping pictures of the three deer together, one of the adults turned and headed towards the fence that led to our yard and the side of the house.
Looking briefly in her direction I immediately commiserated at missing a picture of her jumping the fence.
Momma and baby continued to watch me.  They were watchful but not scared, and I gave them no reason to be afraid of me.
Instead I stood watching them, enamored as always with them.  
They were special.
They were very special.................
After a few minutes they also turned towards the fence.
Still standing in one place I silently watched as they moved towards the fence.
As they stood motionless I glanced down at my wooden Christmas decorations.
Impulsively, for the first time in years, I wanted them up during the holidays, and LC pounded them into the ground for me a couple of weeks before Christmas.
At the time there was barely any snow on the ground, and I smiled as I looked at them again on this day.
They were half buried in snow (and even more buried now than they were when I snapped this picture) and I smiled because I realized that they would likely be in the ground until April.
I'm certain that the neighbors and visitors to town will wonder in April why we still have Christmas decorations up, but I don't care.
Looking beyond my decorations I was momentarily stunned to realize that there were a handful of deer standing underneath our pine tree in the yard..............
A couple of the deer underneath the pine tree were looking in the direction of the two deer that remained close to me,  
For a minute nobody moved. 
 I could sense indecision on the part of the two deer on this side of the fence, and at the same time I could almost hear the silent beckoning of the deer underneath the tree.
Everyone wanted to be together.  I could sense it.  I could see it.  I could feel it.
If you watch animals long enough they inevitably and silently tell you stories.
Laid out in front of me at that moment was a story of curious deer and a desire for two to reunite with the rest of their traveling companions.
I stood motionless, wondering when the two would join with the five.
At the same time I also knew that Kory had been stuck in the Tahoe for the past few hours and would desperately want to run in her own back yard.
I didn't want to, but I was going to have to clear these guys out of my yard................
I did not want to get too close to the momma and her baby, and between the fence, a tree, a power pole and the distance, I could only catch one quick picture of little deer when she finally decided to make the leap across the fence and into the yard.
Immediately after, momma jumped as well, and quickly the herd was reunited...............
Pleased that the deer were all together again I walked into the house, and then walked through the house and out into the back yard before my pup could catch up with me.
 The deer all stood huddled together under the pine tree staring at me and unmoving.
I trudged through the knee deep snow towards them, fully expecting that the deer would turn, head across the yard, jump the fence, and move on to someplace else.
Instead they continued to just watch me.
Finally in exasperation I took a couple of quick steps, clapped my hands and yelled at them.
They thankfully moved towards the fence.................
A few immediately jumped over the fence, crossed over the road and waited for the others.
The others?  They stood watching me.
Time to move on guys.
Again I moved quickly, clapped my hands and yelled.
Again they headed towards the fence.
And one by one they effortlessly jumped the fence and crossed over the road.
Scrambling to get my camera out of my pocket, I snapped a few quick pictures from a distance, realizing that the chances of me catching a jump at exactly the right moment were low.
Thankfully I caught one.
Click on the pictures and they willl enlarge..................
Walking to the back door I called to Kory, and like a shot she bolted out of the house immediately in search of bunnies to scare out of the yard.
While she was securing the perimeter I walked through the garage, opened one of the garage doors and stepped out into the front of the house again to watch the deer.
Slowly they wandered, stopped, wandered again.
In no rush to go anywhere or do anything in particular.
They own this town.
It's home........................
Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem..........AA Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

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