You came for the wild. You wanted to see birds in deep woods, not at feeders. You wanted the rugged, wild-ass ones, far from anything man-made.

The woods are bloated with green. But birds are strangely scarce. Instead, deer caught your eye. This happens sometimes.

Bird watching isn’t always about birds. It’s always about watching.

You watched the deer grazing in knee-deep foliage, and they watched you. You got into staring contests. Big animals, defiant, standing their ground. They chew, and your mind takes a hike of its own, on a weird trail…

You think about how these deer live in a place where everything’s edible. The whole world is food.

What would it feel like? You imagine hiking through woods where there are cheeseburgers on trees. Nachos and Oreos under foot, spaghetti on bushes. Streams of beer.

For deer, at this time of year, that’s their payoff after a freezing, hungry winter in this place.

Okay, you didn’t see birds today. You could go to the feeders near the lodge at the trailhead. There will be towhees, hummers, orioles, cardinals, cowbirds.

But you’re not in the mood. Today, you wanted birds that would say: “We don’t need your stinkin’ seeds.” You wanted wild ones.

So you stay with the deer in their edible world, and think wild thoughts.

7 Responses to “Edible.”

  1. Mary Schoomer says:

    I live in rural North East Texas–usually a very green place with high humidity. But last summer was so dry that the deer had very little to eat–except in my yard which I kept watered by pumping water from my pond–that is until the sprinklers stopped up. Well, the white tail deer loved my yard! They ate sunflower seed from my feeders, Four o’clocks that were blooming, sunflower leaves, and cucumber plants. They drank all the water from two bird baths. If I walked outside, they just looked at me and went on eating!

  2. Helga says:

    I love reading your blogs and would love to be in that beautiful green forest right now. Naturally I’m a bird and animal lover, so I’m looking forward to living vicariously in your bird watching world.


  3. Published Novelist (anon) says:

    Your TFBW is always enjoyable and insightful. I read it whenever there’s a new posting. With material like that, with its iceberg-like depth, it’s easy to spin off a brief comment. Like this: You’ve got enough for another book. How are sales for Got a Minute? That should be the feature to replace the late Andy Rooney on Sixty Minutes.

  4. Michele says:

    Thank you for the reminder that the watching and just being out there to observe what is around us is the salient part of bird watching. It is so easy to come to the woods with the expectation of novelty (new birds!), volume (more birds!), access (if only it would come into the clear!), or something other than just what is. I seem to constantly forget and remember this each time I venture out. Thank you.

  5. Two-Fisted Bird Watcher says:

    Thanks to Marc D, a guy who knows a lot about a lot, for that bit of Big Rock Candy Mountain, a hobo song with a colorful history. There’s also a kids’ version, not as good. The original has been sung by Tom Waits, who’s perfect for it. More information in Wikipedia.

  6. Mary Lee Dodd says:

    I loved the writing and wild thoughts of Edible, and Marc’s comments! My parrot says she wants “more”!

  7. Marc D. says:

    Cheeseburgers on trees. Spaghetti on bushes, Nachos and Oreos under foot. What a jolly rumination. Reminds me of: In the Big Rock Candy Mountain, all the hens lay hardboiled eggs. The bulldogs all have rubber teeth, and the cops have wooden legs. Cigarette trees, lakes of gin, days are always sunny, where a bum can stay for many a day and he won’t need any money.