Last week, rounding the corner of the porch, I came face to face with a young deer lying in the grass, not 50 feet away. We stared; neither moved. She was lying at the edge of some trees, not hidden, even though the sun had been up for hours.
I remembered that several months ago the exact same thing happened in the exact same way at the very place. Only the deer was a fawn. I thought perhaps the mother had hidden the fawn there, though it wasn’t a very good hiding place.
After moments of staring I slowly backed away and went inside. A few minutes later I peeked around the corner, and the fawn was gone.
Seeing the young deer lying in the same place made me wonder if it could possibly be that same fawn. A deer about the same age had been looking in our windows. I caught sight of her a couple of times. Sometimes it would be mid-afternoon; she was always alone.
We’d stare at one another and then I’d move away. Each time I’d go for Sam’s camera, but when I returned she’d be gone. You’d have to wonder about her. Always alone, always looking.
One night Sam ventured outside to the well house. When he returned he said, “You want to see an unusual frog?”
“Of course,” I said, and leapt from my chair.
“It was right here,” he said, indicating an area near the oak tree. There was just enough light coming through the sunroom windows to barely see.
We crept slowly around in the dark looking for the frog, somewhere between the stepping stones and the well house. You have to be very careful looking for an unusual frog on the ground in the dark less your foot finds him first. Then, there he was. It was so dark I’m surprised Sam saw him the first time.
I removed my cell phone from my pocket and took a picture. The frog never jumped or moved away. He was a brownish-green color and blended well in the grass and mud. He had spots all over, but the most unusual feature was his head which was long, and his snout was pointed.
Sam said he thought it was a leopard frog, so we googled it. We found the Southern leopard frog is distinguished by its coloring, spots, long head and pointed snout. They eat insects and are sometimes known to depart from lakes, creeks, sloughs and ponds and venture into pastures or wooded areas seeking insects. They are two to three inches long and are most active between February and October.
And the frog, like the deer, was alone. He never moved. He stared at us as we stared at him and then later, he was gone. Being it’s now November, he may be hibernating, as frogs do.
It is good to enjoy what you can while you can; so many things are here today and gone tomorrow.
Shannon Bardwell’s column appears in The Dispatch on Mondays. Email reaches her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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