Gary Brown: At last, I was one with nature ... and nothing happened

Gary Brown

I found a fawn in my backyard Saturday.

If you hear a loud “Awwwww!” at this point, it means a lot of you are reading this at the same time and the volume of your “Awwwww!” has multiplied.

When I saw the fawn lying near a tree branch that the wind had toppled, it looked so cute. Granted, at first it looked sort of dead. But then I jigged the branch nearest to it and its little nose twitched. I moved a little and its little ears followed the sound I was making. I couldn’t see if its little eyes were open or closed, but I could see it breathe.

I began talking to the deer. “Hi, Buddy,” I said, because Bambi was taken and probably copyrighted. The last thing I needed was a backyard legal problem. “Where’s your mother?”

Had seen the mom

It dawned on me that I knew where Buddy’s mom was. When I walked out to do yard work about a half hour earlier, I’d seen a large doe near the storage barn. She ran into the nearby woods when she saw me, which hadn’t surprised me because deer do that when they see me. There are things in nature you just have to accept.

Later, because I look up everything on the Internet after it occurs so I understand what just happened to me, I learned that deer with small fawn run away to draw attention away from their babies. And, because fawn stay motionless for long periods of time — and have no detectable scent, compared to the stink raised by human babies — predators practically have to stumble over them to discover them.

I also learned that you should not touch a fawn, nor remove it from its hiding place. The mother generally is nearby, watching, or at the least will return to its baby after foraging for food in order to nurse it.

One of the websites I looked at even suggested that a person encountering a fawn should back off as much as 100 yards and watch to see if the mother returns. My house was only 30 yards away. I couldn’t go home?

Doing as told

I did back off a few feet to watch the fawn remain motionless. Then I moved around the side of it and watched it not move for a few more minutes. Finally, I did some yard work and returned to see that it hadn’t moved. I stood there for quite a while, thinking about the rare chance I’d been given to observe and interact with nature.

Eventually, I also got the feeling that if the doe was watching me, she probably was thinking, “It’s incredible how humans can stand there for so long, perfectly still, looking at absolutely nothing happening. ...”

More out of embarrassment than disinterest, I went to run some errands and get something to eat.

It was dark by the time I returned home. Even with a backyard light, I couldn’t see from the driveway whether the fawn still was there.

In the morning, I discovered that it was gone. The fawn’s mom must have been watching me, determined that I was some kind of deer danger, and moved the family to a safer home.

I’d been dumped by a doe.

Still, this experience was enough to make me pledge to be more observant of nature, and to attempt to build a relationship with the wild creatures around me.

I’m hoping to see more baby things in my backyard soon.

If it’s a baby skunk, I’ll probably back off to a safe deer distance of 100 yards. Maybe more.

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