From the Backyard… Frolic Alert

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Photo courtesy of Anthony DeLorenzo at Wiki Commons

In the time it takes the morning sun to crawl across and shine down on my vegetable garden, I drink two cups of coffee and attempt to read something before getting busy with the day’s tasks. Birds chirp and squawk. Chipmunks run across the patio to avoid the neighbor’s cat, who has taken to the habit of hunting in my yard.

The air is still cool, and I’m concentrating on Richard Todd’s ruminations about our—contemporary middle-class society’s—torqued attitude with possessions: Why we accumulate them, what makes us happy, how we define our personal tastes, and so on. It’s a rather dry read, but one I feel I should accomplish—so that I can avoid the pitfalls of conspicuous consumption, perhaps, or at least enjoy material goods in a way that honors them, like Alan Watts suggested decades ago.

(By the way, my greatest addiction is gobbling down other people’s brilliant ideas. I’m a true book junkie. I buy and consume more books than is wise for any muddled mind to attempt. My habit is directly responsible for the demise of countless trees; their destiny—the paper mill. This one is titled, “The Thing Itself: On the Search for Authenticity.”)

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Mid-paragraph, I look up to see three fawns leaping and chasing each other at the far end of the yard. They’ve emerged from the thick undergrowth of the woods and are playing like puppies out in the open space of over-grown grasses. They buck up against each other and boing-boing around as if their haunches were spring-loaded.

I’ve never seen such behavior in young deer. I haven’t seen three fawns in one family in recent history. I look for the mother who is hovering behind an evergreen, munching on mugwort and jewel weed and poison ivy, I hope. She can eat all the poison ivy she wants. With these three rowdies in tow, she must need to feed herself all day long. Their energetic romping around would wear out any mother. She’s not even watching out for them, I think to myself. She must be exhausted.

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One of them breaks free from the pack and runs across the rim of the pond. The other two crash back into the undergrowth and come out thirty feet away. The runner rejoins them, and they all raise their front legs at each other in faux defense, or is it offense. They are clearly having a good time. And their antics have interrupted my philosophical study. Oh well.

Now I can’t stop watching them. Consider the fawns of the forest, I muse. Like lilies in the field, they do not worry about what to eat or drink or buy or wear. Giddy aliveness courses through their young blood, and my serious reading is, obviously, done for the day.

About Ann Hutton

Freelance writer Ann Hutton lives in upstate New York’s lush Hudson Valley. Her work has appeared in the Catskill Mountain Region Guide, Hudson Valley Magazine, Kaatskill Life Magazine, Green Door Magazine, Upstate House and Chronogram, and in Ulster Publishing’s community weeklies: Woodstock Times, Saugerties Times, Kingston Times, and New Paltz Times. A graduate of Union Institute and University at Vermont College, Ann is currently writing a motorcycle memoir with the working title Sitting in Motion: One Woman’s Midlife Adventure on Two Wheels.

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