I see deer behind my place fairly often but I rarely see one on my daily walks that take me along sidewalks and across a heavily traveled main cutoff road. I've been taking this maintenance road that runs between it and McNearney Park, dog park on one side and a narrow wooded area between it and houses on the other side. I nearly walked by this one less than a half block from the street, my eyes somewhat concentrated on the ground before me, and perhaps that is what it hoped I would do. Stopping stock still upon seeing it so close, we began a rather long stare-down. It was as if it was thinking, "If I don't move, she won't see me," while I was beginning to wonder if it really saw me. Surely when I reach into my pocket for my phone (which apologies, has a terrible camera capability), it will bolt into the underbrush, but no, just that steady gaze while a snapped away.
At one point it did turn its head at a sound coming from the other side of the trees, but then turned back to me. I tried a few steps forward to see if it would move. It was unconcerned. But eventually it tired of me, I suppose, and started picking its way through the bushes beside the road. That's when I got the second surprise - it had a black-tipped tail. The skittish deer I'm used to seeing, the ones that must be responding to my movement off the couch as they bound away before I can get to the patio door for a closer look, are whitetail deer, distinguishable by their fat fluffy tails that have white hair on the underside. When they spook, that tail goes up, showing like a white flag in warning to their buddies.
Naturally, I thought this was a black-tailed deer but decided I'd better look it up. And sure enough, it actually is not, but a mule deer of which the black-tailed deer is a sub-species. It really did have huge ears like a mule that should have tipped me off. As it emerged from the brush, it still was not concerned about me being there, following along as it slowly ambled up the road.
Eventually, it decided it didn't appreciate being stalked like this and made its way back into the wooded area. I love being able to have these encounters without making my way outside of town.
So that's some fauna. How about some roadside flora? I do love Queen Anne's Lace (sometimes known as wild carrot) that thrives in the ditches and along the shoulders of rural areas. If you look closely at ones that have not opened up, they are an amazing complex bundle.
And then they open big and flat, often with that black spot in the middle. For the longest time I thought that was just a bug, but no, it is on all of them, a part of the flower.
This flower is not wild or a weed but part of the landscaping in the park. Don't know the name but I've been taken with the shape of the petals, how they pinch in a bit where they join the center the way some dimensional applique flowers do. Apologies again for the limitations of my phone's camera to get a clear shot.
And now for the quotation. I was watching the documentary "Good Work: Masters of the Building Arts" (which I highly recommend you watch) and about fell off my chair when the featured stained glass artisan, Dieter Goldkuhle, made this comment when talking about the warehouse where he buys his glass:
"It's fatal to go there because I always end up with so much more glass than I initially wanted to buy. And it just begs me, "Purchase me"."
He goes on to say he brings them home and puts them in his bins, and from time to time he will just get out pieces to hold to the light and marvel in the colors and patterns. "It's that intimate" he says of his relationship to the glass he buys.
He may as well have been any one of us talking about going to a quilt shop or any other type of art store where we buy our supplies. "Fatal" he calls it, to walk through those doors and start looking and touching and trying to block out the siren calls begging us to gather up so much more than we need and bring it home. I found it rather comforting to hear this older, much experienced man talk this way, as I picked myself up off the floor. I doubt I will ever cross the threshold of another quilt shop without thinking, "This is gonna be fatal!"