Hot, dry summer....

I watched a young doe approach the water bucket last evening. It was about 8:00 and still pretty light. It was obviously very difficult to overcome her fears, she must have been so thirsty. I first noticed her coming downhill when she was still 50 feet away. I heard her snort twice. She must have sensed me watching her. She took three nervous steps and froze. She lifted her feet high and placed them quietly. Then her long ears twitched front, back, side to side. A vulture settled to roost in one of the tallest pines, making a feathery flapping racket. This sound was expected. Familiar. No worry there. Then, she turned back and looked hard at the windows off the deck.

It was me who made her delicate legs tremble.

She took two high steps. Standing for several tense moments, she listened and tasted the air. Closer she crept, and closer. She needed the water badly; I could feel her thirst. I left the window then, knowing that it would be calming if I was not standing watching her, and I wanted her to drink her fill of cool water.

I have been thirsty, even knowing that it was a simple thing for me to find water. How challenging for the woodland beings who struggle through the hot, dry season. Ponds and nearby creek-beds are long dry, driving them to travel long, thirsty distances along known game trails, crossing well-travelled roads until the intoxicating scent of water entices them to risk goat-cleared hillsides, forcing them to brave the dangers of dogs and hunter-humans.

I heard her soft sipping noises as she quenched her thirst. She took her time and drank her fill. Tonight, if she is brave enough to return, she will find a small apple near the bucket.

I love giving Nature a helping hand….