Long winters like the one we are experiencing this year in Quebec’s Eastern Townships make life difficult for animals. Deep snow that persists for months makes it hard for deer to find food in the woods and as time passes they come closer and closer to barns and houses.
Yesterday I glanced out a window, disrupting two deer who were not far away, searching for something to eat.
As I went to get my camera, another deer appeared. Then another, and another, and another.
I couldn’t get a definite count — the deer kept coming and going, in and out of view — but there were at least eight of them. As I watched, they lined up single file, as if they had decided to go for a walk along the bank of the lake.
To get a closer look, I quietly opened the door and went out onto the deck. But of course, that startled the deer. They took off across the snow-covered ground. First three came into view,
… then four …
… then five.
Not all of the deer bounded away. One stood his ground, glaring at me, before going back to nuzzling his neighbour. The others just stared, as if asking me why I was still standing there, invading their space.
A friend once called deer rats with long legs. She may be right. In summer, they are a real pest, nibbling and sometimes destroying all my favourite plants. But seeing them run and leap through the snow, I couldn’t help but admire their agility and grace. And acknowledge that they live here, too.