Another leaf, bright red, tumbled to the ground as she stood perfectly still, observing everything around her.
The longer she stood, the more she noticed. The color of the leaves and the way they flipped over and over as they fell. The ground beneath was soft, partly because of a recent rainfall, partly because of the fresh blanket of leaves the forest was receiving. Bugs busy decomposing a fallen log, birds throughout the forest flitting about in search of breakfast.
And she stood perfectly still, taking it all in while she waited, bowstring slackened, arrow nocked.
The sun was beginning to dispel the morning haze across the woodland. It dappled the forest with patches of brighter, sharper colors, causing steam to rise from the forest floor. It was certainly getting colder, she admitted, but that was to be expected this time of year.
That’s why it was so important to acquire fresh deer meat for the winter ahead. And, judging by the sun’s position in the sky, if they hadn’t been through this way already, they should be around the corner soon enough.
She was right. Three deer- two bucks and a doe- rounded the bend just ahead. Her heart quickened as she watched them move down the ravine, closer to her. She would have liked to have all three of them, but she imagined she wouldn’t be able to get more than two.
From her hiding place behind a large tree and some shrubbery, she waited. They were nearly within range, so she pulled the bowstring taut, taking aim, holding her position.
Suddenly, a noise from down the way. The deer heard it, startled, looking behind them along up the ravine from where they’d come. She looked too, and to her utter dismay, saw her brother tear from around the bend, galloping at full speed toward the deer.
She started, and looked back at her target. Gone, barrelling down the ravine away from him. She cursed him, aloud, and joined in the chase.
“That was mine, you brat,” she grumbled, pulling up beside him.
“Um, not,” he retorted with a grin. “These three are definitely mine.”
“You know there’s an easier way to do it,” I sighed.
“Sure,” he shrugged, leaping over a log. “But this is more fun.”
“The meat tastes better when it’s a surprise-kill,” I countered, “not after it’s been run to death. Messes with the flavor.”
He shook his head. “Meat’s meat.”
I rolled my eyes, annoyed. “Just because we’re centaurs doesn’t mean we have to be unrefined animals.”
“Aww, really?” he teased. “What if I like being unrefined?”
“That’s your choice.” It was my turn to shrug. “All I know is this: these three deer are mine.”
“You’re on.” And so it went, like any other day, my brother and I tearing through the forest at full gallop. He would head off the deer, and I would chase them to him. With any luck, we would have a good meal tonight, and store the rest away for the winter.
Source: This blog series is inspired by the book “Earth from Above: 365 Days” by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Click here to read more about my Creation365 series.
The top picture is from “Canada. Quebec Province. Charlevoix forest.”
Arthus-Bertrand, Yann, Isabelle Delannoy, and Christian Balmes. 2005. The Earth from above: 365 days. New York: Harry N. Abrams.