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Sharing the hills with mule deer

November 9, 2013

Twice lately on evening runs I’ve come across small herds of mule deer consisting of a multi-point buck, several does, a fawn or two.  Orange County deer are not a nuisance like I’ve heard about in other areas; in fact, they are rare enough that seeing them always feels like a gift. Here’s a (too far away) photo from the ridge above the Quail Hill loop off of Shady Canyon Drive in Irvine.  My pocket camera just does not have the power to do much beyond provide a blurry outline.

Mule deer on Quail Hill

With Daylight Savings Time behind us, it’s pretty tough to find time after work to hit the trails. But–when I do–it’s always worth the drive to the edge of town. Here’s Irvine Park at sunset–the sycamore leaves glow and fall, and crunching them underfoot releases a most lovely musty perfume.

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The evening light also transforms prickly pear and its tuna fruit into a brilliant contrast of spheres and spines.

Prickly pear tuna at sunset

The recent deer encounters inspired the poem below. (This photo only shows two creatures; there was a whole family that wandered by along the ridge-top.)

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Still / Quail Hill

At the day’s drop-off, the brink of evening,
ridge silhouettes beyond the parking lot
evaded capture by my tiny camera—
so I dropped that memory weapon and just soaked
in yesterday’s slow fading graze parade:
a buck, four does, a fawn, the easing light.

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