50’s, warm, cloudy, light sun, 12:57
A few years ago, in one of our favorite parks on the edge of town, the boys and I found a dead deer along the bank of the little conestoga creek. They were still super little, and were so bundled up in their little snow pants and jackets and mittens and hats that they could barely move that day. They were fascinated by the deer in sort of an offhand way, spent a little bit of time looking at it and then went about their business. Later we brought will back and he harvested the antlers, intending to use them for flint knapping or other projects. So the park was christened “the deer park” by the boys and we’ve called it that ever since.
Yesterday we picked up Zander from school and decided to head over to the deer park for a little romp.The understory there is very tangled and thick, filled with multiflora rose and stinging nettles and it’s nearly impossible to explore off trail during the summer months, so we hadn’t been to the old deer site for quite awhile, as it’s well off the beaten path.
There, lo and behold, was the skull of the old deer and some of the bones. The remains had been strewn about a bit and quite a few had been carried off out of sight. We looked for tracks and noticed all the little places where rodents and gnawed with their little teeth, seeking calcium and other hard to find nutrients, and then we collected the skull and a few of the vertebrae and leg bones, a scapula and some ribs to study at home.
The boys are both fascinated by the presence of bones, within their own bodies, and the ones we come across when we’re out exploring. I’m fascinated by them too, to be honest. How reassuring it is that something so sturdy lies just below the surface of such delicate bodies, and how we are put together in such a delicate, and complicated, way.