Gouache Painting--Waterwoman visits Sonoma
Deer (excerpt from longer poem)
I have become enamored with deer.
They cross the yard, eating willow leaves
and ground covers. The doe has shown her baby
once, awkwardly standing in the neighbors’
yard with them sitting in plastic white chairs.
The neighbors made no moves.
The old woman talked kindly while
throwing the doe apples. These neighbors fenced
a garden on the deers’ route. The sign
on the gate says “The Buck Stops Here”,
At Sugarloaf Park, in Sonoma, this spring,
I had an eight deer morning.
They graced my isolated campsite.
Only ears and antlers told of their presence
in tall grasses climbing above their shoulders,
green turning golden by early June.
I lay watching their private showing.
I loved them as much as I loved the trail horses
penned at the barn. I smiled at
does teaching their fawns to eat baled hay,
stacked behind the corral.
Loving deer brings joy and sorrow.
They are so quiet, graceful, beautiful......
Those lasting glimpses.
I struggle to accept their suffering, against which
Their grace and beauty offer no shield.
The part of me they speak to is the
One that never wants wilderness to end,
the One who never wants to have to grow up
and fit into the real world. The One
who always wants to disappear into the
shadows of the bay laurel
or backyard weeping-willow.
To be able to forage off the land,
Never be fenced in or out.
And live in perpetual summer.
At a potluck with friends last night Tina reminded me of the painting above. This summer housesitting again where the deer cross the yard daily, and having spent years seeing new fawns, the doe in the poem is at least the grandmother of the current ones that I see leading their tiny fawns through the break in the fence towards Gig and Ken's house where they lounge in the shade.