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  • This morning early:

    The young doe, the one that flirts with the edges of the near field, is in labor, bunching up her body, turning to look at her rump again and again, holding her white flag up up halfway up as though giving up, giving in—okay you win.

    At least we think she’s in labor. That is what we project, what we conclude. We can’t take our eyes off her. What do we know? We’ve never seen a wild birth. But what other than the throes of birth could possess her like that? Well, here I go projecting again: I think that’s pretty much what I must have looked like during labor—though much worse, much much worse.

    Besides, this is when deer drop their fawns into Vermont fields, lick them clean of scent and hide them safe from bobcat and coyote.

    But not from haying blade.

    On these acres they’re safe. Except from one another.
    No haying here until August when bird and beast have long pulled their babies out.

    I put my work aside to watch to worry to walk about with binoculars to report out to R who has to leave for work.

    But then she pulls herself together, grows alert, swivels her ears like periscopes towards the dirt road about a quarter mile across the field and beyond the high ridge of trees.
    She grows absolutely still before bursting out in high leaps through the long grass away away away out of sight into the scrub.

    What could be out there?
    It is too late in the morning for coyote or bobcat unless they have young so hungry that they’ve hunted deep into the day.

    But then I see—two dogs loping along, tails high, doupdeedoupdeedoup--clearly following her scent but not actually on her not running her not yet.
    I drop the glasses, find my shoes and run to head them off down the driveway, which they’ll have to cross. And sure enough I get there just as they do—no sign of the doe, just wagging mutts come up to say hello.

    I don’t know them. I don’t want to know them.

    I ignore how friendly they are, how cute. They want to get nuzzle-y with me. Charm me. They look puzzled when with my sternest voice, my pointiest finger I tell them to go on home. There is no mistaking my message. They turn, racing each other back down the field in full-out game form. Spoil sport their bobbing tails say to me.

    I wait and wait, make sure they've left. I think about turning the other way to look for the doe. But I don't.

    I turn for home, snagged in that space between, once again, the one between human and wild, and feel that I am of neither.
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