Getting along with the neighbors

Some of the blogs I follow, from time to time, post photos and descriptions of where they live, and I always like seeing these landscapes from city neighborhoods to farms to forests that crowd out the sun.

One of the reasons I like reading about others’ homes is because it helps me look at my own town with new eyes.

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There are a couple things that stand out for me in the place I now live. There are the  most colorful skies I’ve ever seen. The wind roars over the mountains. Coyotes howl in the moonlight.

But, for me, a distinguishing part of the town are the deer, and unknown to them, they are the center of a town debate: are they pests we need to control or should we welcome them in?

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While I do sympathize with gardeners and growers who lose out to the deer, I’m one of the ones who likes having them around. It’s true they eat roses, so now I plant lavender in the yard, a plant they are supposed to dislike.

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There are a lot of them this year, maybe the cold December forced them down. During the heaviest snow, there were sometimes 10 of them hanging out in the yard.

And in town, they are even more prolific. Maybe they are just realizing town is fairly safe for them. Predators like lions and coyotes seldom (although sometimes) come within the city limits, and while there are some poachers, they are rare and arrested when caught.

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They wander through town, down the streets and leap over fences into backyards.They have little fear. They graze just outside the fence where my dog, Loki, goes ballistic, and pay him hardly any mind at all.

The roads can be dangerous, especially at dawn and dusk when the deer leap across the highway for better grazing land. It’s almost a rite of passage to hit one. You’re really a local once a deer has crashed into your car. I’ve never hit one yet.

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But they’re my neighbors and I like their company. And they’re better neighbors than some of their human counterpoints.

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6 thoughts on “Getting along with the neighbors

  1. It’s always interesting to watch the “balance” changing; so see how we impact wildlife and vice versa. You may know that suburban NYC, especially northwards, has been a deer haven for quite a while. I did hit one once, but it was already dead in the highway. It was 5 am, I was on the way to early shift at work, it was dark, and terrifying, because I was going fast. Amazingly, no damage. On Staten Island, which is part of NYC and very, very urban, (not to mention it’s an island) we were surprised to see more deer. Apparently they started swimming across a narrow channel from New Jersey decades ago. But they keep to the wilder areas (there actually are some). The funniest wildlife there was turkey flocks, mostly around a psychiatric hospital. The grounds became their full time home. Unlike the deer, they were unafraid, walking majestically out into busy streets, through yards.

    • Great story about the deer swimming over to Staten Island! I didn’t know there was a deer population in NYC. I know coyotes have been seen everywhere. I’ve seen them in L.A., San Francisco. I wonder if they prey on the deer like they do in the wilderness or if they stick to garbage and house pets. I also liked the turkey story. Birds seem to have this tendency to congregate in a place, and then make it their home. When I was in college in Nevada, snow geese covered the campus.

  2. Mmm, and Canada geese have made some northeastern campuses I’ve seen almost treacherous with droppings! I saw coyotes north of the city sometimes. They tended to look unhealthy – scrawny, mangy. Maybe it was the ones I saw, maybe not. You think they have a priority list? 1) see if there are any vulnerable pets 2) check out garbage 3) if all else fails, find a fawn, or a sick deer. Somehow, your last photo reminds me of pictures I’ve seen on deer in India – that “peaceful co-existence” look.

    • I don’t remember seeing any deer in India, but I was at Deer Park (where the Buddha first taught) and wondered why there weren’t any deer around! The coyotes I saw in San Diego were pretty healthy looking–don’t know if that was good or not. Maybe didn’t bode well for some pets!

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