No need to remain concealed, I walk to the end of the drive and look back at the eastern sky. There, thin clouds drift. As they pass, occluding the moon, its glow turns their frothy fringes bright silver. With their dark centers, the clouds resemble coral atolls. The sky is a sea of drifting islands, and itself sprinkled with stars that might be the lights of ships sailing among those islands, or perhaps lying at anchor, each awaiting its cloudy destination to drift alongside.
This unbidden conceit of an aerial geography distracts me from all thought of deer, until I hear a cracking twig near the end of the street. Moonbeams spilling between the shadows of two trees reveal a gray form, briefly still, which then, with quick bounds and a final leap, clears the orchard fence and vanishes into the dark rows where apples are ripening. A dog, alerted by his sensitive hearing barks twice, then falls silent. I am alone under that drifting world of cloud and starlit sea, listening to a chorus of summer crickets, the sum of whose sounds is like waves crashing on a distant reef.