The land comes alive

My afternoon walk was brightened by my encounter with this fellow stroller. Hickman County, Tennessee, September 2015

My afternoon walk was brightened by my encounter with this fellow stroller.
Hickman County, Tennessee, September 2015

“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.

Nobody's Thanksgiving dinner

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?

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia! Your right about the wildlife being active this time of year, and it’s happening here in Minnesota, too. Squirrels are digging in my gardens and potted plants with a frenzy I’ve not noticed in past years. They seem to have a special disdain for marigolds, which they are tearing right out of the pots to leaving wilting on the deck or driveway.
    I hope this doesn’t mean we have a colder winter ahead!

    • Whoa, I thought Marigolds were the ONE flower the critters left alone! In fact, I’ve been told they keep the bugs away. Those squirrels are a force of nature, and not always in a good way.

  2. Judy

    With your encouragement, here’s my 2nd attempt to send a reply since I lost the first one!

    Your post reminded me of the time I was walking in thick woods in Wisconsin and surprised a large deer that was only about 12 feet away. She didn’t run — she just stood there are stared at me with her big, beautiful brown eyes for several moments, then she ran off. The moment brought me great joy. I’ve always loved deer ever since I was a little girl and my mother took me to see the movie “Bambi”. Do you remember seeing it too? We have a lot of deer here in central Pennsylvania too but they’re a different variety and much smaller. They like the cornfields but the roads and highways are a hazard for them. You have to watch out for them when you drive, especially in November during rutting season.

    Then there was the time a couple of years ago that a HUGE wild turkey suddenly appeared at the glass side door of my church when I was nearby. He was either fascinated by his own image being reflected there or he was curious about my being on the other side of the door. He had his tail feathers all spread out and looked very handsome. He was all alone and eventually he walked away. It was fun to have him come for a visit.

    There’s a wildlife protection lake near us and it attracts up to 100,000 geese every fall as they migrate north to Canada. People come from all around to see them there but we locals are able to see a lot of them as they look for food in the farm fields. I especially love the tundra swans and the snow geese. The swans are so graceful when they fly by in a group. I found that someone made a short video of the birds at the lake — you can see the swans at 6’14”.

    Today we’re on our way to get a couple bushels of local apples to make into canned applesauce for the coming year. Autumn is definitely in the air!

    • WOW, what a gorgeous video. Thanks for pointing out the swans– I’m not sure I’ve ever seen them in flight before, even in a video. As I grow older, I love birds more and more. I know it fits all the “old people” stereotypes, but I don’t care! I’m proud and lucky to be old. Not everyone gets here, and those that do, may be unable to see, hear or enjoy the birds. I try not to take anything for granted. That’s another insight that comes with growing older! Thanks for sharing this! ❤

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