It’s a glorious morning on Halcyon Pond.
I went out early, wanting to enjoy the early sun’s rays glancing across the garden. I was confronted with one of the most plaintive, painful sounds I’ve heard. I followed the sound to its source and found a small faun stuck in a fountain pool.
I have no idea how long it had been there. I lifted it out and when I set it down found it was too weak to stand. It was soaked through, so I took off my sweatshirt (spring seems equivocal this year, uncertain it wants to stick around) and wrapped the faun so I could dry and warm it. Such a small helpless creature, shivering as I held it, with either fear or cold or both.
I am not a romantic about nature. I know it’s all about the circle of life and that every creature lives and dies and one way or another becomes food for some other creature. It is necessary. And in a paradoxical sense, it is what gives life meaning. Without death life would have no meaning.
But I am equivocal.
The deer ravage my garden each year. I like to joke (ruefully) that we have gourmet deer; that our garden is listed in their Zagat guide as having the best salad bar in town. I spray regularly, with some success, but last night we had 20 mph winds. Spraying would have been useless. And last night the little buggers grabbed the opportunity to come have a nice, fresh spring mix comprised of fresh hosta leaves with some epimedium blossoms thrown in for spice. And so, of course, there was murder in my heart. And yet, my heart breaks when I see an animal harmed, and especially when it is the result of our unnatural acts.
I dried and held the faun until it felt a little warmer.
I set it out on the lawn, hoping it would maybe eat or walk off to find its mother. But it still could barely stand. I brought it milk, brushed some on its snout, but that too failed. And so I left it, hoping the morning sun would warm it and that it would find its way. I went to stake the irises (which also were too weak to stand on their own) knocked off the slugs that were having their morning meal on the blossoms, and went to mix some more spray to try to make the garden unpalatable to the deer. Thinking all the while as I sprayed about the mystery… Our drive to make our worlds suit us, our impact on the planet, would the faun survive, and did I really want it to…
As I finished, I checked the spot where I had left the faun. It was gone and I was relieved. I hope it is a good storyteller. I hope it tells its mates a tale that will keep them away from my garden. Either a tale of the good fairy who lives in the woods, or of the dangers of the great sea in which they might drown.
Because… I love my garden.