The sun was still below the horizon at seven this morning, and as I stood looking toward the east, the ridge was in silhouette, just a dark line with dark trees against the pale grey sky. Movement! A line of deer, six or eight, perfectly outlined, grazing their way up the ridge. Just enough light to see an occasional flicker of white as one of them moved on. I stood where I was, at the apex of the driveway. At about 150 yards I was not disturbing the small herd, and Teddy, grazing grass along the roadside, hadn’t seen them yet. Just as they moved over the edge of the ridge and out of sight he caught their movement and silently, swiftly charged up the ridge, only to find nothing there by the time he arrived on the line. As I watched him come back, happy to have had a bit of a run so soon in our walk, I thought about what I had just witnessed, and about how, after more than two decades of living on this mountainside, I still get a thrill out of being so close to our natural neighbors.
Yes, the occasional bear on the deck or at the front door is perhaps a bit too close, but still, looking out and seeing our cohabitants so close, often closer than this morning, is a wonderful and beautiful part of our life here. How quietly thrilling it is to live in and be a part of this natural world.
We are a fortunate few who live where we do. We have a very little piece of the world to call our own, and it is a joyful experience every day. We have water that needs no chemicals to make it safe to drink (so far). We are able to look and to see a clear sky and hear birds and bears and breezes when we stand silent and still. We have air that we can breathe. There is a cost to all of this, of course, but it is one we have always been willing to pay.
It is a special kind of freedom we could enjoy nowhere else.