Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Passing of the Secret Treasure

I am announcing the passing of the "not-so-famous" Albino Whitetail Deer that I have photographed so many times over the years. She was not famous, because she was a securely kept secret, treasured by her keepers. She lived to be at least 11 years old, as far as anyone could date her, so 11 might even be young. Anyway, she lived a very good life. A very long life. It is known, that most deer in the wild survive on average, about 7 years, but can live up to 15 years, depending on their environment. (A diet of woody vegetation grinds their teeth down faster, resulting in a shorter lifespan) She outlived the average. She also birthed plenty of babies in her years, so the recessant gene is out there, waiting...

I knew her to be curious. I knew her to be brave. Every time I caught a sight of her, and she of me, we would stare at eachother curiously. She took her time studying me, before she would even think of leaving. It was as if she knew I wasn't a threat to her. I am not the only one. Of the people who knew her, and saw her on a regular basis, she would almost never dash into the woods for cover. She would enter "people territory" and lay down not 50 feet from her secret friends. (Usually there was lake between) I took photos inside the house of the property owners while she rested in the weeds (picture above) I have a picture of the view from the dining room, and what a beautiful scene she created, but I will not publish that photo with respect to the owners.

She was a creature of habit. I could count on her to show up on a certain hillside during the winter months. It mainly had to be a sunny day, as I can only imagine that the hill provided wind cover for her as well as heat from the suns rays on those cold days. She liked that hillside very much. She stuck out like a sore thumb when there was no snow, but when the snow covered that hill, forget about it, she was invisible.

The property she lived on was well over 40 acres, and she roamed pretty much all of it. The landowners are heartbroken, as anyone can imagine. They hold out hope for the next albino, and the odds are in their favor, but coming to know this particular one, who shared their land with mutual respect was special, beyond description. How can anyone possibly describe the emotional attachment of a creature who would roam their/her land, and share eachothers lives from an undeniable distance of attraction? I cannot find the appropriate words for this loss. The weight of it is immeasurable to me. I will think of her often, as will all who knew her. There is a place I will no longer drive by, because it is now empty. It is empty of the mystery that once held a secret.

Note: She was found by the landowner while hiking through the woods. Her routine route would not have taken her to the white one, but something drew her to her final place. She was found near the waters edge. I nice place to rest.


McGone said...

Heard about this last night. It's really too bad.

cuttidad said...

Beautiful tribute Hannibal. I'm so sorry for the loss of this wonderful creature.

Robin said...

Hannibal...You are not only a fantastic photographer, you are also a fantastic person. You really have to stop making me cry though!! WOW beautifully written.