One morning when we were in Indian Valley visiting Greenville last week, we took a drive around the valley up to what is called the North Arm. It had started raining, and we couldn't very well do our work of transcribing cemetery markers in the rain. So it was a great opportunity for a drive.
Along the way, we watched the tranquil scenery of a drizzling June morning pass by. The cold of winter had finally stepped aside for the green of summer to make its appearance. The valley floor was lush with grasses against the backdrop of the evergreen studded hills.
About halfway through our drive as we rounded a bend in the road, we were pleasantly surprised to see a herd of deer close to the roadside in an open corral area probably intended for the cattle that are grazed throughout the valley during summer.
We turned the car around and went back so I could photograph them. It was just us and the deer for a few minutes. For those brief few minutes, the buck and his does were serene and peaceful--undisturbed by the presence of me with the cyclops eye of my camera. Even the presence of a big fluffy cat trotting past them with a big dead mouse in its mouth didn't bother the deer. The cat trotted past the deer and ducked under the door of the barn next to the corral before I could get a photograph of him. The deer didn't care.
As I inched closer to the fence to get better shots of the buck, the deer walked slowly away to keep a good buffer between me and them. They weren't afraid of me but still weren't going to let me get really close. At any given time, one of them always had their eye on me while the others continued to graze. Sometimes it was the buck watching me and sometimes it was one of the does. I moved slowly with my head down and to the side the way any flight animal prefers to be approached. It worked.
But the tranquil mood didn't last long. A logging truck rumbled by on the two lane road behind me and startled the deer into an attentive and frightened state, which then inspired little Chica to go bonkers back in the car. The deer trotted off into the valley away from the road. Some turned to stop and look back at me in curiosity.
I got back in the car, and we continued on our way.
Not too far up the road we encountered another group of deer alongside the road. This time the grouping was significantly different. They were all bachelor males without any females among them. Were they hanging out biding their time until one of them would be strong and brave enough to challenge the buck we had met earlier? Or were they a rough-and-tumble bunch that was newly out of fawnhood more like a group of 16 year old boys than mature bucks willing and able to watch over females of their own? They seemed less concerned about me than the first group. Ah, boys! So sure of themselves and so full of bravado. You gotta love 'em!