It was just a couple of weeks ago that our area of Oklahoma was drenched with nearly three inches of rain in a twenty-four hour period. I always find spring an exciting time of year, when balmy, warm days ignite unstable conditions and severe weather. I thought of Emma and Ronnie deer that evening as lightning flashed through the skies and loud claps of thunder seemed to rock the earth. This was their first major storm since they were released to the wild. Rain pelted down in sheets at times, and tiny pellets of hail could be heard hitting the roof. The drains at the top of the slope near our house could not funnel water down to the canyon fast enough, and water quickly surrounded the house like a moat. Finally at daylight, the rain had dwindled to a light drizzle, and by mid morning the moisture subsided. Overcast skies hung about the rest of the day, but the temperatures were just right for a lovely walk in the orchard.
When I found Emma and Ronnie, they were mostly dry, except for a few inches up from their hooves, where it was apparent they had been walking in puddles created from depressions in the yard and pasture. I wondered where they had found shelter during the night hours and how they had managed in the night storm? Did the clap of thunder and the bright lightning bother them like it did me? Running my hands down into Emma’s neck hair, I felt warmth and she was dry. It was simply amazing to me how much insulation their hair provided, and how a quick shake could send thousands of water droplets flying, while allowing for a quick dry of the coat. Deer were certainly built for the conditions they lived in!
Though I had walked the pecan orchard as a visitor for many years while traveling through on my way to the river, I never paid much attention to it on the whole. Until we purchased it last fall, I had only viewed it superficially I suppose. But now that I felt more of a responsibility and duty to oversee it and manage it as somewhat of a sanctuary for wildlife, I looked upon it with fresh eyes. My goal this morning after the rain, was to walk around with Emma and Ronnie leading the way, and to discover how this very nourishing rain had changed the landscape of the orchard. What I discovered were waterways running north and south through the tree rows. I wondered if this was planned by the original owners? Of course the slough was longer, deeper and wider than it had been just the week before. Rain water continued to trickle down small tributaries from the south fence line of the property. Large rafts of debris – sticks, weeds, dirt and tree bark – lay soggily alongside these trickling waterways. Evidence of rushing water could be found along every row of trees. The area truly looked like a swamp or wetlands of some sort.
My real joy was watching Emma and Ronnie run and jump in the puddles that morning. They hoofed at the water, creating foamy bubbles, and they dipped their heads down sideways. I wondered if they could see their reflections? For a long time they poked along in shallow water heading south to the slough, jumping and leaping along the way. Then all at once, Ronnie broke into a fast run. I realized how magnificently athletic he had become since his release in early February. He was muscular and strong. His legs were powerful and precise. I stood in utter amazement as he ran at top speed, leaping over the waterways, and pivoting sharply around trees while whizzing right past me! I remained mesmerized by Ronnie’s antics until Emma distracted me with her nibbling on my jacket pockets, chewing on my jacket zipper and attempting to lick my iPhone!
I shall continue to enjoy these spring walks with Emma and Ronnie in the woodlands and remember these days of vim and vigor, just as I remember how it was for Daisy in her youth, and for that of her fawns. It is a reminder to me that joy can be wrought of the most simple things… like a splashing good time after the first spring rain!
© 2017 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…