The land comes alive
“The land comes alive through its wild creatures.” — Charles Fergus
When I was employed by the Tennessee Department of Conservation, one of the foresters with whom I worked heard me say my fiancé was from Hickman County. “Hickman County?” he said. “They got more deer there than people!”
I had to agree with that. In the many years Jeff and I have been travelling together through the highways and byways of that lovely county, it seems that we always see at least one deer as we drive along, and often more than one. Though I hardly ever notice until Jeff points them out to me, I delight in seeing them. If you’re ever traveling on I-40 between Memphis and Nashville and want to see the home where Jeff grew up, take the Bucksnort exit (I am not making this up; it’s exit 152).
So, when we were visiting Hickman County a few days after Daddy’s memorial service in Georgia, I took my camera as I headed out for a late afternoon walk from his sister’s home. I was hoping to catch photos of at least a few of the ten wild turkeys I had counted as we drove down her street earlier that day.
“You might see a deer,” Jeff’s mother reminded me, and sure enough, I had not gone 500 feet down the street before I caught a flash of movement a short distance away. An enormous doe with a long, fluffy white tail had spotted me before I spotted her, and she trotted away from me, then turned to look back, curious yet sensing potential danger.
I stood very still and snapped this photo of her, then decided to walk slowly toward her in hopes I could get a bit closer. No such luck. The moment I took the first step in her direction, she bounded into the woods with that graceful speed that so impresses me.
I did see some of the turkeys, too. I even saw one of them take off and fly a short distance, but when I pointed my camera at them, they insisted on showing me only one angle.
More than any other season, autumn reminds me of the wildlife that become a bit more visible as they forage or browse among foliage that is already beginning to thin out. The weather grows cooler and it’s an ideal time to enjoy being outdoors. Why not take a stroll and watch with joy as the land comes alive?