Chapter 9: The Best Year, The Worst Year

January 1999

Biggie, Lillie Boy and Big Crooked Horn celebrate New Year’s Day with us by making themselves at home for the next 3 days. Prince joins in on the 3rd day. Gold Finches and Siskins are plentiful. We are visited regularly by rather tame grey Foxes and a Hawk who seems quite adept at picking off the small birds, especially if they are not feeling well. We marvel at how they can fly through the deck railing as though they were no obstacle.

Biggie is spending more time here now, with 28 days logged this month. Like a magnet Biggie’s presence seems to attract several others. Lillie gets in 23 days, Big Crooked Horn 20 days, Pretty Boy 4 visits, and a couple other young bucks, one with a missing antler and the other with a crooked antler.

Gold Finches and Pine Siskins are still plentiful at the feeders and we frequently see hawks or falcons picking off the less fortunate or ill birds. We sometimes wonder if we aren’t setting a trap for the smaller birds, and we have to remind ourselves of “natural selection.” Foxes are also regular visitors, sometimes coming within a few feet of where I am sitting to give Biggie some apple treats. I get the feeling that they are saying something like “whatcha got for me?” Two of my bird feeders consist of a slab of flagstone placed on a cement pedestal which elevate the slabs to about waist level. On one slab I place dry cat food for the crows, and jays, and on the other I place wild birdseed. Biggie and Lillie always go over and clean the birdseed off, and the foxes are constantly cleaning up the cat food, but I don’t mind. Sometimes the loudest noise we hear outside is the sound of a fox crunching the dry cat food.

February 1999

Biggie has 18 visits, Lillie has 25 visits, BCH 23, Pretty Boy 7, a doe once and Little Broken Horn once. On the 2nd day we have some of our famous high winds, and while lying in bed at about 10pm we watched our 65 year old Russian Olive tree get blown over. It went over in slow motion, without much noise as though silently giving in to the enormous wind pressure. Gusts in our neighborhood exceeded 90 mph that evening with some parts of the city experiencing 120mph gusts. I always wonder where the deer hide during these frightening windstorms.

I make note a few days later that Big Crooked Horn and Pretty Boy are getting closer to me, with the downed olive tree being somewhat of a barrier between us. This is something I have seen hints of before, but it never really hit home until the olive tree became a convenient barrier. That barrier somehow made the more timid deer feel less afraid when it was between us. We removed most of the branches but we left a few of the once horizontal, now vertical branches along with the main (now horizontal) tree itself. We just couldn’t bring ourselves to remove the whole tree and it became a nice yard sculpture that would serve well as a roost for birds waiting to feed on one of the many feeders we had about. To our surprise and gratitude the tree has survived nicely for three years.

On the 24th Biggie has one antler missing, then 2 days later the other is gone. For the first time in years we didn’t find either.

March 1999

Biggie is here every day except one and so is Lillie, but their days away were not the same days.
Big crooked Horn is here 25 days, and Pretty Boy is here 12 days. A few others make brief appearances, including Little Crooked Horn at least 3 times. A doe even shows up near the end of the month.

We find both of Pretty Boy’s antlers on the 6th and Big Crooked Horn’s crooked antler on the 8th. The crooked antler later gets made into a decorative broom by some friends of the “Deer Lady’s.”

On the 6th we witness a behavior in Lillie Boy that surprises us. Normally in subjection and easily frightened, Lillie was very aggressive to a much bigger Prince. We get a sense that his aggressiveness is related to protecting his friend Biggie, but we aren’t sure. Then on the 11th Biggie shows aggression to his good friend Lillie and he chases him away when he was getting too near to me. We hadn’t seen that kind of aggression between these lifelong friends before. On the 12th Big Crooked Horn goes into a rant and does a series of 180 and 360 degree mid-air jumps and kicks with a lot of stotting at high speed all through the yard. This reminded me of the time that Biggie did a very similar rant years before. I wonder if this isn’t a declaration of the “Alpha” status.

On the 26th, a typical spring day, Biggie, Lillie and another young buck who still had his small antlers, are visiting. We are invaded by 3 large bucks who are out of their territory. I don’t recognize any of them with the exception that one of them looks a lot like the one we call “Prince,” but we don’t think it is Prince. These bucks have fighting on their minds, even though their antlers are gone. Biggie and his friends clearly want no part of these boys, and in a resigned fashion they walk away from trouble.

As I watch the goings on, I start talking to Biggie. “Hey Biggie, let’s not let these guys push us around.” Biggie stops and turns to face me as I descend the stairway into the yard. “C’mon, let’s run these guys outta here” I admonish Biggie. Almost reluctantly, yet with renewed assurance, Biggie turns around and positions himself right next to me. “Let’s show these guys the door,” I say to Biggie while motioning him to stay with me. I was astounded when, with a common purpose, we stayed side by side as we walked the transient bullies out of “our” yard. Another wonderfully close and very powerful and spiritual feeling between man and beast. I marvel at these events, and the highs I get are nearly indescribable. When we had accomplished our mission, we turned and looked at each other and we performed mental “high fives.” Biggie returned to his usual task of lying down in a shady spot to supervise the “yard happenings,” and to get some much-needed rest after all the excitement. Throughout this whole episode Lillie stayed out of harm’s way in a corner of the yard, watching but not wishing to participate.

So many other things are noted in my daily logs, but they all seem so insignificant after the “bully” event. We are visited regularly by Grey Foxes, Ruby Crowned Kinglets, Goldfinches whose color is beginning to brighten, and “Chippy” our resident but out of place chipmunk. On the last day of the month we see a Doe briefly. The Foxes regularly make off with the cat food I put out for the Crows and Magpies, but I don’t mind. The male even comes up on the decks and peers in the doors to see if anyone is interested in refilling the feeder. Between the Foxes, Raccoons, Crows and Magpies, we never send chicken scraps and bones to landfill. They all have a way of making such thing disappear quickly. The Crows and Magpies also willingly dispose of any mice we happen to catch.

April 1999

Aprils’ statistics are; Biggie 29 of the 30 days, Lillie 26, Big Crooked Horn 17, and a half dozen various other assorted young bucks. A doe and her twins appear one day for a brief visit. We have some Ruby Crowned Kinglets and the Goldfinches are becoming a bright yellow. We have a rare sighting of a bald eagle on the 11th and we chose that day to put out the first Hummingbird feeder of the season. On the 19th a Coyote trots through the yard and we spot a Golden Eagle. We wonder of the “one legged House Finch” that shows up every year might become Eagle or Hawk prey. On the 22nd and 23rd we have very heavy snows and Eileen chooses that time to leave for Florida. Excellent timing on her part, I must admit. On the 26th there were a total of 5 Bucks and a Doe in the yard at one time. Our resident Grey Fox has been getting quite tame, coming within a few feet before sitting and watching whether I was about to put out “Fox friendly” bird food. I sense that Biggie’s essentially daily visits indicate that he is going into retirement. The old front knee injury is growing more lumpy and causing an awkward angle for the leg below the knee. This is making it difficult for him at times to move in certain ways, but when he has to, he can still leap fences quite easily. I worry about his leg holding up under one too many leaps.

May 1999

Biggie is here 26 out of 31 days, though I suspect he’s been here at least briefly on most of the days I didn’t see him, especially at night. Our security lights come on whenever there are deer in the yard, and frequently we will wake up just enough to notice the lights are on. Lillie only makes 3 appearances and we wonder if he has made his summer exodus a bit early or if something has happened to him. Big Crooked Horn comes through 6 times and a few assorted younger bucks make just a few appearances. Only 2 Does are seen together on one day though. We have our first Hummingbird on the 2nd, a female Broadtail. As usual, the first hummer sighting is something special.

On the 9th we strike gold with bird sightings. An Indigo Bunting pair, a Lazuli’s bunting and a gorgeous Western tanager all brighten our day. On the 10 we are getting snow, after having been in the 70’s the day before. Ughhh! Then we get freezes on the 11th and 17th. Double ugh!! We’ll not likely get many apples or peaches this year. A pair of Lazuli’s Buntings have been hanging out all month, a Blue heron makes a fly-by on the 27th, a Stripe Headed Sparrow is hanging around and Foxy continues to become friendlier. The wildlife in our yard is constant yet changing and always interesting. Biggie continues to be our focus, however, and his appreciation of our care and love is continually becoming more evident by his increasing presence and affectionate behaviors.

June 1999

This was a month from Hell for Biggie. He somehow injured his left rear foot and he is having a lot of trouble moving around with 2 bad legs. I became convinced that Biggie was quite ill from his new injury and he may be dying. He almost did die, in fact, from dehydration. He wouldn’t or couldn’t eat for a few days and until we brought a bowl of water and put it in front of his prone body, we doubt that he had gotten any water for some time and was just hours from death. He spent almost the entire month recovering, either in our yard or the yard just below us. Many days he obviously wasn’t feeling well and his foot oozed pus on into the next month. We got so concerned for his health that we called the Division of Wildlife to come have a look at him, thinking that maybe he needed medical attention for his injured foot, or that maybe he should even be put down; a thought which I wasn’t at all friendly with. I think we mutually agreed that he would be better served by letting him have some more time to heal himself if possible.

Whenever I took apples to him he would eat some, many times voraciously so, so I knew he was getting at least some nourishment. At times I would pull higher branches down low enough that Biggie could eat the leaves that he liked so much. I could always feel his unspoken gratitude as he and I both knew that whatever help I could supply he could certainly use.

There were only 3 days that we didn’t see Biggie, but we knew he was close by. Certainly no more that a neighbor’s yard or two away. We only saw Lillie boy 6 times, all at the end of the month. Normally Biggie and Lillie wouldn’t be around at this time of year, but with Biggie’s injuries, I think Lillie hung around to be with his friend. We only saw Big Crooked Horn twice early in the month and a couple other young bucks twice, which is fairly normal.

Another thing that was of concern was a cloudiness that I noticed in Biggie’s eyes. His left eye was worse than his right eye and I wondered if deer could suffer from cataracts. But some days his eyes seemed clearer again, so I doubted the cataract concern. I did wonder whether his eyesight might be affected by the cloudiness, and his behavior indicated that he might be suffering from sight impairment at times.

Biggie’s foot, although it was still oozing lots of pus at the end of the month, seemed to be improving. The swelling had gone down somewhat and he was putting more weight on it and moving around better. His spirits even seemed to be improving. Don’t ask me how I knew that because I can’t explain it. I just knew, and besides, Biggie was becoming playful again, which is something I hadn’t experienced since his foot got injured.

July 1999

I didn’t see Biggie or Lillie the first 2 days of July, but they and Big Crooked Horn showed up on the 3rd and stayed though the 4th. There was also another very handsome young buck who joined the others. Biggie’s foot was still oozing pus.

The 5th & 6th was Lillie only, then on the 7th the yard was barren of deer. The 8th had 2 young bucks and Lillie, who had injured one of the odd antler appendages he always grew each year. It bled profusely for 2 days, and on the 9th the injured appendage was hanging loosely and it became apparent that it would die and fall off from the main beam. The 10th had Lillie all day, seemingly recuperating from his injured antler, then there were no deer until 2 young bucks came in the morning of the 18th.

On the 19th we finally saw Biggie again, and his appetite was huge…..stomach growls, belches and copious drooling while eating some apples. His antlers had grown quite a bit and were very impressive. He hung out all day in the nearby arbor.

Biggie was alternating days it seemed. He was here on the 21st and then again on the 23rd. I noted on the 23rd that his hind foot injury was looking better but that his front knee was looking a bit worse.

He was gone for the weekend but back on Monday the 26th for the entire day. Then on Tuesday I noted that his hind foot is still tender, but that he was feeling quite playful and wanted to do a little sparring. Always such a treat to be invited to spar, a special feeling that just can’t be compared. Then I didn’t see Biggie the rest of the month. A nice variety of Hummingbirds had been feasting at our feeders, which helped keep our minds off Biggie when he was gone.

August 1999

The first day of August is special in that a Golden Eagle does a fly-by. Whenever we see one it always makes us feel like nature is providing us with a special show. The hummingbirds are becoming more numerous now, as their nesting season draws to a close and they prepare for the long journey back South. We experience an influx in the early spring as they make their way into the nearby foothills and mountains to nest. Then late summer and early fall they begin gathering in more suburban areas. We see several varieties and we never tire of their bold and friendly personalities and entertaining antics. Breakfasts are enjoyed on the deck just a few feet from one of the several feeders that we maintain. Often they come within inches to inspect our plates, our faces or our brightly colored clothing. Flower print clothing is always fun to wear. More than once I’ve had them land on a finger and wait while changing the nectar.

August 3rd was a special day, or rather night. I note that Biggie’s foot is mending well. Late evening, after the sun had been down long enough to allow the light in the sky to make the outside scene still quite visible, we noticed Biggie lying down in an unusual location, under a young ash tree on a rather steep section of slope. Suddenly a family of Raccoons appeared, with at least the mother and 4 or 5 very young raccoons. They were curious about Biggie, and while the mother kept her distance, the youngsters all decided to check out Biggie. They crawled all over Biggie’s body and nearly fully developed velvet-covered antlers. We expected Biggie to protest and try to shake them off, but he remained lying down and relatively still as though he were allowing mother raccoon’s nature class to proceed. That episode went on for several minutes and it’s the kind of thing you wish you had your video camera ready for. I was never very good with having cameras available when I should. Later that evening I had an unpleasant encounter with a skunk that left me with a less skunk friendly attitude. I’ll not go into detail other than to say “I shoulda known better” and that the best deodorizer that I could come up with was a mixture of baking soda and peroxide. That worked well enough to make the odor at least tolerable. The robe I was wearing needed at least 2 washings and a few weeks of airing out.

Biggie’s visits total 24 for the month. Big Crooked Horn makes 5 appearances and Pretty Boy only one. Pretty boy is a beautiful animal with a very big rack that stands vertical and tall. Biggie’s antlers are always very wide. A few young bucks make appearances throughout the month, and on one occasion when Big Crooked Horn and a young buck whom he had been hanging out with were both visiting, BCH growled and hissed at Biggie. There was some kind of rivalry between Biggie and BCH, and I wondered if BCH wasn’t showing his young tag-a-long the ropes, so to speak. One afternoon I had to rescue Biggie from a chicken wire tangle. He had somehow gotten a length of chicken wire caught in his still developing antlers. He wasn’t happy about even letting me untangle him unless we could get some kind of barrier between us. He dragged me around a bit before he positioned himself behind one of the yard benches. I had almost given up trying, but he seemed to calm down once he was behind the bench. There he stayed while I slowly approached from the other side of the bench. Through minor protest he allowed me to untangle the wire from his bleeding antlers. The wire had cut into the soft tissue, but the damage is not as bad as it first appears.

Journal entries show that the hummingbirds are leaving, with only a few still hanging around. Goldfinch numbers are on the increase. Biggie’s fur is changing to winter gray and is getting very soft as it thickens for the coming cold months.

September 1999

Biggie is here every day this month and I rarely see any other deer at all. On the 5th while getting in some close-up-loving time, I discover that Biggie’s right antler is cold and his left antler is warm only halfway up. The blood flow is stopping and the felt is beginning to peel away, slowly exposing the hardened mass that will now serve as his defense tool and his badge of status. I note on the 6th that his neck wrinkles are disappearing as he bulks up his fat stores for the winter cold and the rut. As the days move on his antlers are looking a ragged mess, with multiple strands of drying felt dangling like stiff ribbons. He almost looks like he has been in a battle with a brown bed-sheet. On the 12th I serve Biggie “breakfast in bed” as he chose not to get up for his morning apples. Biggie is in decline and when he does get up and down and move around it is very slowly and with obvious pain, reminding me of an older person with arthritic joints.

A bit later in the month, around the 22nd or so, I note again that he has put on a lot more weight, and that is spite of his pain he was feeling a bit playful, inviting me to participate in a short sparring session. I happily accept his invitation, and I thank him for his generous re-affirmation of my acceptance into his world. Though there have been many of these sparring sessions, mostly at Biggie’s invitation, I experience a euphoria that puts me in a totally different state of mind. I liken it to “peak experiences” as described in a book called “Dolphins, Myths and Transformation” written by our friend Ryan DeMaris. Her doctoral thesis was based on the study of “interspecies interactions,” primarily interactions between Humans with Dolphins and Whales. I can now equate those “in-the-wild” interactions with many of my own with Biggie and his herd. They are my “pod” of Dolphins on land. These interactions are profound experiences that have life altering consequences. New values suddenly come forward. Things that were important in life go through a kind of reversal, trading places with those things that were less important and kept on a back shelf. Now being dusted off and placed much higher in importance are such things as what kind of stewards to our planet and our environment we are. On the whole, we are not very good at the stewardship thing I’m afraid.

On the 22nd I note that our friendly neighborhood fox is back and that a Falcon or small Hawk is visiting the area. On the night of the 23rd I was startled awake by a horrific rumbling. When I awoke I saw that the motion lights on our bedroom deck were on, and the sound gave me visions of the deck being under assault. So at 2am I went out to check on things and there, gazing up at me from the bottom of the deck stairs was Biggie. He had been rattling the railings with his antlers. What a clown, and I swear he had a grin on his face that said, It’ about time you got up.” So now Biggie was resorting to extraordinary means to let me know that he wanted attention, probably in the form of apples. I inspected the railings for damage but couldn’t find anything significant. It doesn’t take much force to transmit noise through the wooden structure. I decided to install a cowbell at the bottom of the railing for future late night use, but he never used it, nor did he ever awaken me again in that manner.

On the 25th, Big Crooked Horn and a friend were sparring at about 6am. The noise was enough to remind us that it was time to get up anyway. Who needs alarm clocks with all the help we have? The next day I note that Biggie’s limp is more pronounced. Ever since his injury to his front leg I wondered how long he would last before the leg gave out entirely. For at least 2 or 3 years I tried to convince myself that I probably wouldn’t be seeing Biggie the following year. But this was not the case and this year he never went farther away than my yard or a neighbor’s yard. I began suspecting that Biggie was letting me know that he was closing in on the end of life. On the 29th I note that Biggie has symptoms of a cold, something that he seems to have every year. As the month closes out we still have Hummingbirds, and the Stellar’s and Gray Jays are showing up.

October 1999

The 8th is the last day we see any Hummingbirds. Foxie, as we call him, is quite tame and patiently seats himself within a few feet of us, waiting to see if we are going to put out anything for him to eat. He usually just helps himself to some of the scraps we put out for the crows and magpies. Lots of Robins and Jays making themselves at home, loading up and storing winter food.

On the 7th Biggie is feeling unusually good and is in a very loveable mood. We spend quite a long time just hanging out, me petting and scratching Biggie’s favorite places and Biggie reciprocating with a lot of licking on my arms and legs. My jeans almost look like they just came out of the washer.We talk a lot, Biggie and me…….and though I am the only one speaking words, I know we are conversing, like 2 pals exchanging “friend talk.” If anyone were to see and hear, they would surely think I was deranged……but they don’t know, and I feel sorry for those who are unable to commune with a wild animal, or even a domestic creature for that matter. It’s another example of the “peak experience” that I feel very privileged to have, so rare and so indescribably special. The bonds between Biggie and I are magical and spiritual. Whenever we are within eyesight of each other, I can feel those bonds as though a magnetic force were pulling us together.

On the 9th, Big Crooked Horn is hassling Biggie, trying to goad him into a fight, but Biggie will have none of it. BCH and a friend try again on the 11th and 12th, both times to no avail. Biggie simply is not interested in a battle. On the 16th we have about 6″ of snow and the early morning hours reveal quite a number of hoof prints, indicating that a small herd had passed through. On the 17th Lillie Boy shows up while I’m feeding Biggie some apples, and Biggie immediately displays disapproval by growling, then snorting and hissing, while raising his fur. Biggie shakes his antlers at Lillie, and Lillie looks on in disbelief as though a good friend has turned on him. But shortly Biggie allows and accepts Lillie back into his domain. Perhaps this was just a renewal ceremony to remind Lillie who’s in charge. Or maybe Biggie’s eyesight is failing? Many times when the sunlight hits his eyes at an angle and they seem very cloudy. I don’t see this condition in any of the other deer, but then there are times when it seems like the cloudiness is gone or diminished. Now that I think about it, it seems like Missy Tags might have had the same condition.

On the 18th both Biggie and Lillie hang out all day, but Biggie manages to get his antlers tangled up in some chicken wire again, so I have to rescue him one more time. This was a particularly nasty tangle and it took several apples and considerable effort to get the mess untangled, but mission accomplished. Biggie and Lillie still both here on the 19th & 20th. It appears that Lillie is staying close to his friend. I note that on the 20th Biggie was as sound asleep as I had ever seen him.So much so that I almost thought he was dead, but of course he wasn’t.

On the 21st Biggie goes to a neighbor’s yard and picks a fight with a bronze statue of a mule deer buck. Biggie managed to tip the statue over, but in the process put a little nick in his skin just above his left eye. I wonder if this is eyesight related, or is he just being funny?On the 22nd some mysterious force tells me to get some pictures of Biggie. So I do just that, taking several close-ups from no further that 2-3 feet away while Biggie rests, never opening his eyes even at the clicking of the shutter. My heart warms with his love and trust.
On the 23rd I note the first sound of the Townsend Solitare. Lillie is here but for the first time in a long time I don’t see Biggie, but Lillie is here and he’s here every day. I suppose deep inside I know that there is a good possibility I will not see Biggie alive again. He is, after all, almost ancient in deer terms and his health and injuries have taken a toll.

During the first week that Biggie was gone I had 2 nearly identical dreams on 2 consecutive nights.In each dream, a woman is handing me a pair of antlers. And although I suspect they might be Biggie’s antlers, I refuse to fully accept that possibility. My concern for Biggie grew so intense that I finally called the Division of Wildlife. Although I could never be fully prepared for the news that I was given, I sensed that his time had come.  I was informed that Biggie has been killed on the evening of the 23rd, in a very rare “fight to the finish” with another buck. That Buck, it turns out, was Big Crooked Horn.

I was devastated at the news. Not that I hadn’t been expecting it, but it’s never entirely possible to prepare for the actual moment. The next few months were extremely difficult, and even as I write this some 3 years later, the tears of sadness and missing my firend find a way to surface.

I was able to assemble much of what happened by interviewing a neighbor who had witnessed much of the battle. A battle that apparently lasted for several hours. I know in my heart that Biggie chose that time and place to die. I know without a doubt that he was ready to die and that he didn’t want me to witness it. I know Biggie wanted to die the warrior that he truly was. It was a brutal fight, with Biggie’s bad leg finally giving out. At one point their antlers were locked together, but the antlers on Biggie’s weak side finally broke at one of the main beams, apparently as his adversary gave a mighty heave that threw Biggie up over his back and crashed him to the ground.Biggie was finished, unable to get up and continue and Big Crooked Horn stood over Biggie’s dying body for nearly 2 hours, waiting to be certain that death has finally come. Biggie only had the strength to raise his head a few times as the life slowly drained out of his mortally wounded body. I’m so glad I wasn’t there to witness Biggie’s end, but I miss not being there to hold and comfort him as he gave in to his fate. I am grateful that his was a “natural” death, a death that befits such a magnificent creature.

November 1999

I see Lillie on the 1st, 4th and 5th. He looks at me with a look that says something like, where’s Biggie, or do you know what happened? I detect a distinct sadness in Lillie, or maybe it was just me projecting my sadness, but he was not eating much and he was sleeping a lot…..much like I was doing. Big Crooked Horn appears on the 5th as well, and then I never see him again. I later found out from the DOW that he apparently had become badly entangled in a fence and didn’t live through it.

On the 8th another mysterious but emotional event took place. We had gone for an afternoon hike in the foothills about 2 miles west of our home. It was a fairly steep hike that was one of our favorites, sometimes making the trip several times each week. The crest of the first hill is a bit over a mile from the starting point and it opens into a wide saddle area with a magnificent view of the valley to the east, where we can actually look back and see our house off in the distance. As we reached the view area, something odd occurred. Two leaves, one an oak leaf, the other a cottonwood leaf fell in front of us. The cottonwood leaf landed just off the trail and was still in its fall yellow color. The oak leaf was brown and curled and landed immediately in front of me, falling in such a way as to make me stop to watch it land at my feet. What immediately struck me as odd was that there had been no wind that I could recall, and there were no deciduous trees of any kind anywhere nearby. As I pondered what had just happened in the stillness of the air, I realized that both were leaves that came from the same type of oak and cottonwood trees that live in our yard. Perhaps my still fragile emotional state influenced my thinking, but a feeling swept over me that this was Biggie’s spirit saying goodbye in a grand but gentle way. I’m not normally one to allow myself to believe in supernatural events, but the powerful feelings I was experiencing were hard to ignore. Inexplicably, I picked up and placed the 2 leaves in a small, leaf-bare bush at about the same time some winds began to blow. Now I was really feeling strange because the air had been so still. We left the leaves there, thinking that the wind would blow them away and they would be gone the next time we came back.

On the 11th we returned to the spot where we had left the leaves and the oak leaf was still there, but the cottonwood leaf was gone. Something deep inside led me to believe that I should bring the oak leaf home with me and crush it up in one of Biggie’s favorite resting spots. Perhaps this was a type of closure that I needed, like the scattering of a loved one’s ashes. I don’t know, but it did somehow help.
On the 13th, just 22 days after my 2 identical dreams about this event, I am handed Biggie’s antlers, still attached to his skullcap. The DOW officer’s name is Trina and without a second thought I realize that she is the woman in my dreams…..the woman I had seen in 2 brief, cloudy dreams. How can one explain the things that took place between Biggie and me? Why had we bonded so quickly and so deeply? How were we able to communicate on such extraordinary levels, and why? There seems to be no rational explanation other than there were some mysterious forces involved. I know there was some higher purpose to our relationship, and I may never fully understand what that was, but this was no accident…..this was truly “meant to be.”

Goodbye Biggie my incredibly special friend. Thank you for the joys, the sorrows, the love and the lessons you’ve shared. I am humbled and filled with love and gratitude by your soul and your spirit which will be with me all my remaining days. I miss you so terribly and yet I feel your presence daily.

Lillie disappears for several weeks, and then spends most of December in the area. Pretty Boy and 2 or 3 other bucks visit from time to time, mostly to Lillie’s dislike. Then Lillie is gone, only to be seen once more briefly and he was very timid, almost as though he were reverting to his more natural wild state. We never saw Lillie Boy again and we assume that he was killed. Another Buck whom we have named “Big October” has spent some time in the area. We think he is a Biggie offspring because his facial and other features bear a striking resemblance to Biggie. We are friendly with him, as we are with all the deer, but we are not inclined to ever again pursue such a close relationship as we had with Biggie. There can never be another Biggie, and we wouldn’t expect to be so graced with yet another such experience.

Here is a link to a YouTube video of Biggie and me interacting much as we frequently did. The music is from track 6 on our CD Brain Massage II titled “Biggie’s Song”

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