Along the South Branch
The ephemeral beauty of early summer along the South Branch of the Raritan River is highlighted by a pair of fawns wading across its momentarily serene waters.
A new born fawn lying in the cool green grass along the South Branch evokes a sense of wonder, innocence and surprise.
Quiet Moments Along the South Branch
Glancing at this pastoral photo it may be difficult to understand you are really looking at life in the fast lane.
In a scant six months the fawns will have learned most of what they need to survive in wild New Jersey. Their spotted coats will be replaced by a subtle gray-brown pelage and the female fawn may possibly be carrying fawns of her own by December.
Both animals will soon become part of a matriarchal group of grandmothers, sisters, aunts and cousins. A lead doe will emerge to rule the hierarchical group and an obvious apprentice in training will mimic the lead doe’s behavior as part of a natural succession plan. These matriarchal groups are quite territorial and it is not unusual to see lead does rearing up to box with a rival.
By the autumn mating season the tribal herds tend to disperse as food supplies dwindle and mature bucks begin to search for receptive mates. A single buck will breed as many does as possible. Does tend to cycle about every 28 days or so with the peak breeding season in New Jersey calculated to be around the second week in November. The does will regroup after the mating season and sometimes form larger herds in an alliance to broaden territories and have access to sufficient forage and cover.
The spent bucks begin to gather in bachelor groups often joined by last spring’s male fawns and recuperate from breeding season in isolation from the does. The pregnant does will seek solitude to birth their fawns in late May to early June as the cycle of life among the white tailed deer continues.
The turmoil and urgency of life lies beneath the surface of calm summer waters in a never ending rhythm of energy and consequence. The quiet moments in nature draw us in and invite a communion with the distant places in our heart. It is in that moment of awareness we discover all of nature exists within each of us and we are all bound by the same flow of energy. With that realization it becomes impossible to act in a way which does not affect the world around us, not just in this moment, but forever. Enjoy the quiet moments in Nature and allow its energy to stir your soul.