...to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free....

03 November, 2011

'tis the season

Late fall.
It arrived when I wasn't looking this year.

(I actually wasn't even in Maine.
For the last two long weekends, I have jetted off
to distant places to attend family gatherings.)

Here at home, the festive colors of maple and birch have flown.
Oak leaves, especially tenacious, are brown and crispy 
and fixed on their branches--
--probably will be for much of the winter.
Snow has fallen here--and remains on the ground and on roofs
that the sun no longer reaches.

I begin to observe the dying of things--
The sun is lowering, and losing its warmth.
Shadows stretch long over the earth, even at midday.
Hallowe'en brings us goblins and zombies.
The forest floor is carpeted with brown pine needles 
and composting leaves.

And "deer season" has begun.

 ~ ** ~

I have tried not to be too judgmental about deer hunting.
Many people I know who hunt
do it mostly for the excuse of time off from ordinary things
dedicated to quietly being in the woods,
communing with nature.
I know some who never lift their gun, preferring
that sacred eye-to-eye contact, and then letting it be.

Some folks make good use of their deer meat (as they call it in these parts).
For one month, men wear bright orange caps and gloves
when they pump gas or buy groceries--
as if any minute now they will fly off into the woods
to "get their deer".

In many states, deer have taken over the suburbs.
Gardens have to be fenced in, Lyme disease
is rampant. Shrubs and ornamentals can disappear all in a night.

Yet, deer are graceful creatures, and I would no more
kill one intentionally than I would fly to Mars.
Walking in the woods or fields is riskier this month, 
And blaze orange is not my color.

So impartiality is a challenge for me these four weeks in November, 
culminating the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
I breathe a sigh of relief when the sun goes down that day.

~ ** ~

Yet, look.

A friend has a pile of antlers in his back yard
from past hunting seasons.
Saved, I think, not as trophies, but as objects of wonder.

The moss they have collected is soft and beautiful.

The markings on each point tell stories 
I can only imagine.

My favorite wonder is what I think of as the 'knitting place".

We probably have markings like this on our skulls.
I find them beautiful.

Death, like other aspects of nature,
simply is.  A necessary part of the circle of life.

Late fall reminds me of all this.
It is a time that forces me to think of endings, diminishings, loss.

...At least until the light starts to come back again
the third week in December.
To make me think once more of beginnings, growth, new life.

I am so grateful to live in a part of the world
where these transitions are so clear
and where the meditation on change
keeps me from taking much of anything for granted.


  1. This was a beautiful post...and the pictures are simply beautiful. I agree with you on hunting season. I find myself decked out in all sorts of colors this time of year, and try to wave my arms (a bit too frantically) as I go for runs down my country roads. I WISH they would stay away - at least from here;) (Orange is not my color either;)

    No...I don't know what type of mushroom that was on my post today- but I'm going to try to find out. I have never seen one like it before. And...
    Thank you for that poem. I know I will have to read it over many times to encourage myself through another long winter! Thank you!

  2. I'm grateful that you share those observations of your part of the world with us.

    We have quite the collection of deer antlers too, found while taking walks at our former home. Maybe we should have left them on the ground for the mice, but they're like prizes you come upon. And they are beautiful.

    Just like the deer they fell from.

  3. Mike, nice post! I never have been able to get my head around deer hunting! Don't know why! I guess I'm a gatherer! I was at the bird sanctuary yesterday. All around the edges there's a war going on. Sounds like it anyway! It's bird season out here. Can't fathom that anymore either. Used to but it's better with the camera now!

  4. Beautiful moss and lines on the inside of the skull. There are so many deer in Virginia. I don't like hunting, but I also get sad when I see dead deer along the roadside-- hit by cars.A frequent sight.