WELL, MAYBE ONE BEER, ANYWAY.
Oddly enough, it’s something to celebrate on Center Island. Our deer are returning.
Loyal readers might recall that when I first made this rock my full-time home four years ago, I used to temper the monotony of my morning bike laps by counting how many deer I passed. Admittedly, since I rode a circular course, some were repeats, but my record for three laps of the airfield — about a 20-minute ride — was in the range of 45 deer.
The down side to that was that you couldn’t plant a new tree or shrub on Center Island without fencing it. And if you love swordferns like I do, you better get used to them being munched down to the hilt. Those guys can be voracious. Nonetheless, there was something peaceful and comforting about seeing the Center Island herd grazing the grass airfield on a misty morning. It was part of our bucolic island scene.
Alas, 2021 brought more than COVID, it brought a mysterious virus that killed most of the deer in the San Juan Islands. It’s been months since I’ve spotted Bucky or Bambi on my morning ride.
This morning, as I trundled downstairs to make coffee, the first thing I spied out front of The Nuthatch was a handsome buck, antlers proud and pointy, bedded down in the tall grass beyond the salal patch.
He spent the morning. In fact, as I was lounging outside on the deck with my second cup around 11, taking a break from rebuilding the cabin’s back balcony, I was starting to worry about the guy. Was he hurt? Was he, shudder, sick?
Just about then, a rustle sounded from deep in the salal, and out came a little doe. Wow, here come the deer, I reveled. And I bet a girlfriend will get his corpuscles puscle-ing.
But before he could rise and introduce himself, more rustles split the morning’s peace. And out of the shrubs came another buck, with antlers even pointier. I didn’t just have one deer in my yard, I had a whole new herd!
Just as things were looking up for the hoof-and-hatrack population, a fearsome thought sprouted in my bean: Would a battle over the doe ensue? Would this happy population explosion blow up in my face with a fight to the finish between these two young studs?
Everybody just munched on my salal and hung out for a while. It was all chill.
Bucky, Bambi, welcome back. Just, please, leave the swordferns alone.