“Be careful how you behave towards wild things – remember that, to them, you represent civilization.” — Ashleigh Brilliant
One of my favorite memories about my husband’s late father is the way he loved wildlife. Many a summer’s evening I would be relaxing inside the Tennessee home where Jeff grew up, enjoying one of his mother’s books, and his dad would call to me from the porch, “Julia, come here for a minute!” I always loved hearing those words, because it usually meant at least one deer was outside, and sometimes more than one, although sometimes it would be a bird’s nest or a rabbit or a turtle or even a snake (but I’m not sure if that’s my memory or my imagination coming up with that one).
Jeff is a lot like his father in that respect. He can spot wildlife better than anyone I’ve ever known, often noticing a deer hidden in the nearby woods as he drives down the highway going just over the speed limit. I can hardly ever see what he points out, even when he slows the car to give me a better look. More than once, we’ve missed hitting a deer crossing the road because he spots it in time to brake.
But he’s also good at spotting the tiniest creatures while he’s out mowing or working in the yard. I don’t know how he does it, because sometimes it’s a baby turtle about the size of a quarter, or a bunny no bigger than my fist. Like his father, he will stop what he is doing to come call me, never telling me what surprise is outside, only asking me to come and see. I’ve learned to grab my camera on the way out. I can’t imagine having anyone else cut the grass for us, for fear they wouldn’t be so careful to avoid mowing over the critters and their babies.
As springtime arrives, I hope to see and enjoy the new life springing up all around us…and I’ll remember Ashleigh’s words!