Sunday, November 1, 2009


The deer have begun to gather into their wintertime herds. It amazes me to see them collectively decide to do this every fall. One day they’re grazing alone or in small groups of three or four, and then the next day a threshold is crossed. The daylight diminishes to a precise point that cues them to form gangs of a dozen or more. I disturbed three sizable mobs as I walked along the trail this morning. I don’t like to distress them, but it is fun to watch their white tails flashing through the trees as they scatter.

I arrived at the park at the same time I always do—right at sunrise—but since Daylight Saving Time ended last night, the clock said it was an hour earlier. Consequently, the access road to one of the trails I really enjoy hiking was still gated. Park rangers are sticklers for schedules, so I had to choose another route. I envied the deer their subtle, sun-ruled sense of time. The clock is such a crude substitute. It is a shame to live under the tyranny of an abstraction.

I'd write more about time but my body is telling me it's an hour later than the clock claims. I'm weary. Go here if you're in the mood to think a little more about time.

Deer in the Wood, Paulus Potter, 1647.


Bozo said...

The article is quite a piece of work, but it has given me a headache. I'll save it to take in small bites.

BitterGrace said...

Oh, yeah--you don't want to tackle that all at once ;-)