This past weekend, FD and I decided it was finally time to close the pool for the season. We were still enjoying the warm dog days of summer, but it was evident that autumn was just around the corner. Evenings were cooler now, and a few hints of fall color were making a splash in the woodland trees and vegetation. Leaves were spiraling down from the trees, which was the main reason to close the pool now. Leaves make a real mess in the pool and, besides that, the water has become too chilly lately for enjoyable swimming. After a short rain Sunday morning, the skies remained overcast and there was very little breeze. Nature had handed us the perfect scenario for preparing the pool for closure.
As with any routine chore, we had learned a few tricks over the years to simplify the process, making the task of closing the pool fairly easy. Everything was going well until FD discovered a tiny leak near the skimmer. Fortunately, it was a simple fix, and just a matter of spending a bit of time working at it. Then Emma deer showed up. During the week when I am working on any outdoor task or project I wait for the deer to take off to the woods for the day. Otherwise, they tend to hang around snooping and I get little done. One has to be careful of hooves and antlers now that they are older. While FD worked on the leak, I kept Emma from interfering. Finally, the leak was repaired and FD and I got the big blue pool cover out. The crackling noise and expanse of tarp as it was unfolded, scared Emma and sent her running for the canyon down below the slope. Thankfully, she would not be meddling with this last step in closing the pool.
After getting the cover secured and putting away tools and pool equipment, FD and I decided to enjoy a couple of beers on the back porch. By now the sun was making an appearance and we were hot and thirsty. Emma and Ronnie were lying down below the slope in the shade of a hackberry tree. Squirrel chatter could be heard all around. I had observed a lot of early pecan harvesting and a lot of fighting and play with the squirrels lately. Butterflies and moths danced and flitted about while FD and I enjoyed some good conversation. After a time, Ronnie and Spike mosied off to the pecan orchard to look for some good eats or engage in some antler sparring. But Emma stayed put, bedded down in the shade with all four of her legs thrust out in front of her. It is not often one observes a deer in such a relaxed position. Most of the time they rest and sleep with their legs tucked underneath them, always at the ready to run from a predator. I suppose Emma felt so comfortable because her “folks” were not far away.
It was when FD noticed Emma nodding off that I ran into the house for my camera. I had observed deer sleeping many times. They curl their heads back into their bodies. Sometimes their eyes are closed and sometimes they remain slightly open, just like humans do. In both delight and amazement, FD and I watched Emma’s head drift back further and further towards her spine, in small nodding movements, until her long neck had made its way to an uncomfortable-looking stretch where she finally jerked back up to a more normal resting position. Before long, the entire process began again.
I cannot say how long FD and I delighted in watching Emma nod off. And I cannot say why I enjoyed it so much. Perhaps it was the deep relaxation I sensed in Emma’s body posture. Maybe it was the knowing that FD and I had made efforts to provide the deer and all wildlife in this area a safe sanctuary and we had, as Emma demonstrated, been quite successful. I was also thankful for having this time of gentle rest at the change of seasons. With cooler weather approaching, I would finally have reprieve from summer work, and Emma and Ronnie would have just a bit of respite before the chaos of the fall rut.
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