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Another Lesson

My husband and I were called to the mountains, so here we are.

I’ve had many lessons on compassion, honesty, and respect during my lifetime. I also moved here able to already identify a cooing dove and whippoorwill, but I knew far more about the sounds of an ambulance, fire truck, police car than the singing of coyotes.

Keeping that in mind, I share a little story.

The dogs were outside—and what a racket! A doe was caught in the cage-trap meant for wild hogs!

I called a neighbor to come quick and free the doe. She was tangled and mangled, and Sadie, the calmer dog, was no help. Sadie was having a duck-fit, wanting a piece of that deer!

Barking and growling from dogs and a deer thrashing, floundering, battering herself. That’s how it was for 10 long minutes. When there were momentary pauses, I thought I heard a baby fawn making a baaaa sound back toward the river. Almost the sound of sheep.

When freed, the doe headed out—not to the deep woods—but toward the river.

Two days later, a horrific smell. Then buzzards.

Sad struck me, then my thoughts ricocheted to the fawn.

I wanted the Bambi story to have a happy ending where the fawn was adopted by another doe and played among the trees, rocks, babbling river.

An evening not long after that, my husband and I were together in a golf cart in the pasture. I heard the baaaa sound again. My husband, who now admits to impaired hearing, could not hear it.

He asked, “Which direction is the sound?”

“This way,” I said. He got out of the cart and stepped into three inches of water, looking for a fawn in deep grass.

“Now, it’s over here….” He moved the other direction of my pointing hand.

I said, “I can’t believe it. It’s over this other way now….”

My husband said, “What?! Oh, it’s bullfrogs! Pat, it’s bullfrogs you’re hearing!”

I smiled. “Do they sound like sheep? like fawns? like baby goats?”

How he howled! How I laughed! Laughing at ourselves and at each other!

I don’t struggle with hearing. I struggle to make what I hear make sense. Bull frogs!

Twilight and bear. Those, I recognize. Now, a new sound to fine-tune. I don’t yet know the difference between the sound of bull frogs, a fawn, a baby goat. All different sounds but similar.

A mother doe is probably fine-tuned and does not have to check out bullfrogs.


Pat Durmon

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Checking for baby deer in the pasture. Photo by Jimmy Durmon, June 2019.

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