It's not the shorter days and the rain that make November a dreadful month; it's hunting season. Blaze orange and the sound of gunshots offend me. I can't help it; I wasn't raised in a hunting family, I have never fired a shotgun, I don't (yet) need to rely on game we catch ourselves for survival.
It's a part of my country education that is either a work-in-progress or a failing, not sure yet which.
With a field and a pine plantation behind our home, we are avid deer watchers. Before the trees next door were cut down, we had does giving birth in the field every June. Although we had a vast number of deer grazing in the field during a thaw last winter, when the snow was so deep and last for so long, we haven't had as many deer wander through now that the woods next door are gone.
But we've had a doe and two fawns around regularly, the fawns still drinking from their mother.
For the last couple of years, my husband has put out apples in order to deer-watch, using a game camera as a backup. This year, he's more serious about getting a buck and has built himself a stand in the woods. He's still using the camera, as much to see if there is a buck around as to catch photos of the deer. The does and fawns are there, though, eating apples.
Friday morning, a doe and two fawns were at the top of the field, enjoying the morning sunshine after so many days of rain. We couldn't figure out what we were seeing until we realized: the fawns were playing. They were running and leaping and cavorting.
"They're full of apples," my husband grinned.
"Well, they can stay there where they'll be safe," I said.
Here's the irony of the first day of hunting season: a doe was struck by a vehicle just up the road, and the next day, two fawns showed up alone at the apple pile under the stand in the woods.