I have several sets of photos sitting in Photoshop right now, slowing down my computer, but this post is going to push them all back in line, because I feel the need to share this one right now.
I went outside to stare at the sky a little after 11:00, with the goal of seeing some Orionid shooting stars. I took my camera, and walked down to the baseball fields adjacent to the little complex where I live. It wasn't a very dark place to sky-watch, but I knew it would be darker than sitting on my deck, and was a whole lot easier than driving somewhere more conducive to Orion gazing. Wandering through the field resulted in very wet feet and a very cold Jill. I stuck it out, sitting on bleachers, tipping my camera up on one of my shoes (because the tripod is in my car, where it always is, doing me a lot of good), and using the remote (for the first time, really) so I didn't shake the camera when I hit the shutter.
Sitting there, in the cold and the dark, I heard a rustle in the woods to my left. I couldn't see very well, but I knew it wasn't a dog walker, as they would approach from the houses behind me. The figure I saw was unrecognizable, just grey and moving toward me. I sat in absolute silence as the animal got closer, and the shadow seemed to grow and morph until I realized it was a young buck (literally), with small antlers, just a few points, but still big enough to be imposing. He made his way up the hill, past the little league fields, to where I was sitting, stopped less than 10 feet away, and looked directly at me. I was so afraid to move, to break the spell, I didn't touch the camera. I didn't even breathe. I just sat, staring at him as he stared at me. I took one photo as he made his way across the field, but it was too dark to see him. I've seen plenty of deer, in fact I saw 2 does and a fawn today, but I have only once before seen an adult male, and never have I been so close to such a large animal in the wild. It was pure magic, a gift given to only me, undocumented except in my mind.
In the end, I spent almost 2 hours outside, saw only 2 meteors (neither of which I captured in photo-form), ruined my shoes, and now, over an hour later, am still freezing cold. And I have no regrets.
Posted by Jillian at 2:36 AM