I woke up yesterday a little early, the sun still under the horizon, and as I peered through the blinds, I received a shock as I sleepily assessed the quantity of remaining feed in the bird feeder. This brazen boy, the beginnings of some velvet nubs on his head, was picking through the sunflower hulls cast down by the birds, presumably in search of some left behind proteinaceous morsels. I can't imagine what compulsion drove him to bypass prairie and garden to pick at the shells merely 20 feet from the house, but whether desperation or bravery, there he was.
I grabbed the camera and took a few shaky photos, hampered by the dim light and the telephoto lens, my pounding heart and my still sleeping hands. Each click of the mirror and shutter on the SLR seemed to stretch out the seconds as I prayed for him to stand still and my hands to steady. A few pictures, a few precious seconds, and he began to amble down through the grass to the greater garden. Now, suddenly, there were two, a plump doe magically appearing in my visual periphery.
As I followed them, now outside and accompanied by my trusty sidekick, Bella finally noticed my attention to the silent intruders and she shifted immediately to guard behavior, ready to fend off the invader at the slightest sign from me. A few warning barks, and the moment passed, Hart and Hind turning tail and tearing off towards the nearest horizon. Even in my disappointment, I couldn't scold a dog who has such a graceful natural stance as this. If I put any training into her, she would make a mockery of the best dogs at Westminster, don't you think? For a genetically-confused cross between a Beagle and a Border Collie, she certainly a lot of Pointer in her, doesn't she?
Why, oh why, surrounded by the bounty of the still tender grasses of late spring, are this pair of furry rats drawn into my garden? Are they jealous of the extra time and money I'm spending to keep a single scarlet cardinal around for the pleasure of Mrs. ProfessorRoush? Do they come for the rosebuds, to gather them while they may, and then stay for the party? Are they merely another tool of Mother Nature, a warm-blooded stealth fighter designed to raze the unnatural garden back to Babylon? Run, you cowards, run! Bella is on guard.