August Moon

The moon was spectacular last night. Her luminosity made my lantern unnecessary when I went out to feed the fawns. I watched a few stray clouds scuttle across the silver surface and noticed a tinge or orange on the very edges of those clouds. You don’t see that color in early and midsummer moons…but midsummer is past and that moon has become the Green Corn Moon.

I learned the names of the moons from an old Native American friend when I was a child. They often differ from the standard almanack moons of the white settlers. The Green Corn Moon was so named because the corn was ripe and juicy and sweet. Fresh ears were roasted in the fire and The People filled their bellies with it’s goodness. They knew that the winter would be long and there would be many nights of soup and succotash made with the dry corn of harvest. This corn was a treat and was celebrated with stories and songs.

I always feel a bit wistful at the August moon. It’s the last moon of summer and soon the light will change and the softness of the summer will turn to the sharp, crisp sky of Autumn. The moon will rise golden and her light will turn cold as she passes across the sky. The hectic time of harvest will be here and my arms will feel the itch and scratch of wool sweaters reluctantly pulled over my head.

I didn’t want to waste this moon. I took off my shoes to feel the dew and gave the deer their warm, sweet bottles of milk. This time too will come to an end. Some already turn their heads and reach for grass of the sweetfeed at their feet. Their spots are fading and they raise their muzzles to the wind. I wonder if they are smelling the fresh scent of freedom and are already thinking of forests and fields beyond the fence. My time with them is limited.

when they finished, I followed them out into the yard. We walked all the way to the garden and beyond. Every once in a while a cool nose pressed into my hand or against my leg. Sophie came to join us and that’s when the dancing began.
It started with a headbutt to the side of my leg, then progressed with a sideways shuffle to the side, soon all the deer and Sophie were running and jumping around me. The bucks would bow low and shake their heads, then race in circles around us. The does would raise up on their hid legs and then leap in a different direction.

They raced around the perimeter of the garden and then would come back to me, inviting me to run.
But I’m old and slow and not a deer. They are becoming aware of this now. I am not a deer. They long to have the company of other deer instead of old ladies. The tie that binds us will stretch and strain and finally break. Once the gates are lowered, I will see them less and less.

Some will return on a daily basis, still begging for that warm bottle of milk. I’ll indulge them, as much for me as them. Some will disappear within day and I’ll never see them again, not knowing if they have joined in a heard of wild deer or somehow died on the road or in the jaws of a coyote. The longest night of the year is the night that they do not return to the yard to sleep. I lay awake listening for the screech of brakes or the shrill cries of coyotes with prey.

Then there is always that one. The one who can’t let go. The one who will come back just to stare at the house or sleep in her familiar pen. The one that even years later, I will see in the field and it will turn and look at me and want and not want to approach me for a scratch.

I love it when that happens. I know that I succeeded at my work. I know that there is a healthy deer that would not have been there without me. It’s a little thing in the scope of the world, but it’s enough for me.

In the meantime. I have this moon, I have this night where lanterns have no need and I will dance with the fawns in the dew.

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