It was the third week in May and the green leaves were still fresh. I was traveling home and as customary, I always look across a field to see what glimpse nature may offer.
On this day, I was shocked to see a mature-appearing whitetail buck grazing in the field only a short distance from the road. I was shocked because clearly, I could see the antlers of this deer. I was shocked because clearly, antlers of this size are generally not as visible until July and August. I was shocked because clearly, this deer was progressing through the normal cycle of antler growth, early.
I took a photograph and shared it with friends. From that moment and subsequent discussions, I have come to the conclusion that what I saw was a result of the warming of this past winter.
Tracing back, in my opinion it was only cold for a few days this past winter, early in January and then again in April. I recall there being 80-degree days in January and February and seeing a snake the last week in January.
From a human perspective, these observations of nature not being what a human defines as natural, were unnatural. Certainly, it was awkward when the temperature in the doldrums of winter were like that of the blossoming of spring. And certainly, finding a snake in January was a reflection of the sun’s warmth on this earth.
Ironically, about that same time in January, a friend of mine went to the coast to catch what should have been seasonal fish for the winter. Instead they found pods of sailfish, which are typically not found here until late in the spring and into the fall.
I thought about the deer for a few days and wondered how it could be that a critter of nature could be so far along at a time of year when they should be beginning growth, not well-forward in the process. Then I thought about all those little signs I knew about from the hottest winter, ever. Then I thought about all those little signs I didn’t know that affect and create the world of nature.
Frequently, I have heard and stated about fishing, “I never would have thought to catch one of those,” or “They are totally unexpected this time of year.”
It is as if we humans, mere observers of the nature around us, have this preconceived idea of what nature should and should not do, based on the weather and the date on a calendar and the seasons.
In my opinion, the deer I watched had grown antlers, early and it was a direct result of the warm winter. Nature, you see is an adaptive vehicle. Humans, you see tend to be late or fail totally in adapting. Nature, you see recognizes the process it cannot control and instead of resisting and trying to alter the course of nature, follows a course of nature, naturally.
There was a time that I, much younger than and perhaps not nearly as wise as I think I am now, didn’t understand that nature has its own way and that natural resource actually means that the resources nature functions by, are very much beyond what we humans can think. Perhaps our worldly trends will eventually morph into a blended season where spring and summer begin in February and last through October.
We will winter for a few weeks and then the snakes will slither in the snow and the deer will grow antlers sooner than any of us humans could ever imagine. Then again, when we as humans begin to think we have all of the thinking done on how nature should behave and act, something natural in nature, occurs.
As we go into this late summer month of August, the weather is hot and the air is thick and hopefully that deer I saw in May will continue to grow and when deer seasons arrives all of his natural growth and wonder will be visibly apparent. Or, it may snow in August and winter may begin in September. Either way, I submit control to nature and its very natural ways.
Enjoy your time outdoors. firstname.lastname@example.org