This week has been full of animal sightings for me. In my last post, I pondered my attraction to water for the past few months, and this week I’m wondering why wild animals are showing up for me. I do love it when I see wild animals because they usually stay hidden from us. I consider it a special blessing to see one. And Nature has surely blessed me this week.
First to make an appearance was the rabbit in my yard. He showed up by my back step on Monday evening and hopped over to the edge of the yard and stayed around long enough for me to get my camera and take some photos. He showed up on Wednesday and Thursday as well. My old (almost 15) cat gave a half-hearted attempt at chasing him Wednesday afternoon, but the rabbit easily outran her. I’m glad she didn’t get him, because I’ve loved seeing him hanging out in the yard.
On top of this week’s rabbit sightings, my time in the Chickamauga Battlefield today had several other animal sightings. It’s a clear-blue-sky, low-humidity, cooler-than-usual kind of early summer day. Since I’m getting stronger after cancer treatments and am almost recovered from that long-lasting stomach ailment, I wanted to enjoy the day with a walk. As soon as I got out of my car there in the battlefield, a hawk flew over. It wasn’t the usual red-tailed hawk. I didn’t get a photo of it, but it flew over as I was getting into my car to leave, too, as if it said both “hello” and “goodbye” as well as “look closely!” Because hawks have that really good vision, right? I think it was saying, “Watch like a hawk while you are here today.”
But as I was walking, I forgot the hawk’s message and got too absorbed in thought – and almost missed a couple of wild animal sightings. Deer aren’t usually out midday, so I wasn’t looking for them. Typically when I see a deer on one of my walks, I hear it walking through the underbrush before I see it. That was the case today. I heard the sounds of an animal moving in the woods, the crackle of leaves underfoot. Then I saw movement, and the deer stepped into the sunlight. This doe was too far away for a good photo, but I figured I could edit enough to pick her up. Just barely, as you can see. She posed in the sunlight for me.
I heard another deer on the other side of the road a little farther down, and her brownness is what caught my eye first. This one didn’t pose for me but kept going and got behind a large felled tree. But two deer sightings in the middle of the day was pretty special for me. I was grateful that they both made enough noise to wake me from my thoughts.
And the day got even more special as I was driving out of the battlefield. I almost took a right turn to go to the bypass, but at the last minute, I decided to go the left way. I’m glad I did, because I saw something I’ve never seen before. A turkey hen and her huge brood of babies (which I discovered are called “poults”) crossed the road just ahead of me. I stopped to let them pass and took photos as they did. They reminded me of a mama duck and her duckings, but these were poults and not ducklings, not nearly as fluffy-looking as ducklings. I was most surprised at how many there were. I counted 15 as they were passing, and I knew I missed some. When I looked closely at this photo, I came up with 19. I had no idea that any bird had that many chicks in one brood! Well, I’m guessing it was just one brood since they were all the same size. They certainly were traveling together, siblings or not.
I’ve been trying to pay attention and be present more, so maybe Mother Nature and her wild animals are helping me out. Whatever the reason, I’m delighted to have so many animal sightings in one week – and so many today, especially. I feel blessed. Maybe having cancer has helped open my eyes and ears to what has always been around me, but what I’ve been to busy or too absorbed to see and hear. Maybe? Whatever the reason, I hope the visitations continue. Seeing a wild animal is a little gift that Mother Nature seems to have prepared for me – if I pay attention. And if I forget, She seems to have decided to give me a nudge. So pay attention I shall. And be delighted when I receive the gifts. And be grateful once again.