by Mark Weinrich

Branches break with echoing snap,
something is coming.  It’s too loud for turkeys.
Limbs pop.  A mule deer doe and half-grown twins
enter the willow grove. I’m screened by lemon 
yellow leaves, resting on a boulder
not twenty feet away.

They graze on seed-tipped grasses and preen, 
then mama rears like a stallion, hooves pawing air, 
her outstretched neck and tongue glean willow leaves.
Golden pollen showers as she returns to earth.
She repeats this two-step dance and one fawn
awkwardly attempts to stretch and stand.
With practice the fawns prance, but they cannot
reach and snip the tender leaves like mom,
branches snap.  Their exuberance makes me 
want to laugh and cheer. 

Golden pollen rains and rains, their salt and 
pepper coats tinged honey gold.  
Waves of citrusy air caress my cheek.
What pageantry! I’m captivated by this rehearsal
for deep snow, I’m overwhelmed with wonder
how the Lord orchestrated this deer dance
the mama sensing and teaching what she knew
her twins would need. And I am ever grateful
that I was included.

The third week of December a record 22 inches fell.
Our desert town was smothered. Schools and churches
canceled. Everything at a stand-still.
But in the foothills, I knew if I trudged back
through waist-deep snow, I would see more 
than a rehearsal, but a performance that would
make that mama proud.

Mark Weinrich lives a creative life as a writer, photographer, musician, and artist—all wrapped together in an outdoorsman. He is a retired pastor and nine-year cancer survivor. His writing and photography have appeared in over 130 news stand, inspirational, and literary publications. He has sold eight children’s books and currently has two fantasy novels on Kindle.

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