Mammals


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Several days before, I’d seen this gentle, solicitous sow
transport a newborn kit by mouth from one tree cavity to another.

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Then one day a high lonesome cry filled the air,
answered only by a soothing reply, encouraging the youth to venture forth
on trunk and limb, which it did, eventually, with trepidation and a helping paw…

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 leaving them both exhausted and ready for a long afternoon nap

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 in the shelter of their leafy home.

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Bonus Material: Behind the Scenes …

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slumbering

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spring

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wakes

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from the leaf bed.

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Here by the autumn creekside,

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a stealthy fox emerges from cover

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to prey upon a squirrel

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 that nimbly leaps away.

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And here the next morning, back set to the sun, the fox bends to it again.

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Here’s how it looks

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to reason with the bucks

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about eating from a garden.

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 One might never tire of watching a woodchuck waddle away,

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but it’s a special thrill to sit upon its path some inviting spring morning

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when it might come curiously close,

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as if face to face with an old friend,

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returning along its well-worn way. 

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Thanks to spring blooms that fed the bees
that pollinated the flowers that produced fall’s fruit,
a gray squirrel dangles from hind legs, to pluck a ripe crabapple, 
and nibble the food in its paws on a nearby branch.

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On the slim margin of Little Crum Creek, few moments, though tender, can be private.

Like last year’s fawn, this summer’s newborn deer waits patiently on a hill under maple shade and weed, occasionally roaming to browse, until momma returns for a suckle and nuzzle in the surrounding sound of cicada songs.

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