Stoney Hill morning By Michael Townsend
Morning was serene onStoney Hill Road. As I stepped onto the deck, the serenade began.
My friend, Patrice, calls the deck the “verandah.” It’s here the family lingers in long gabs before dinner.
The sound of birds — too many to distinguish separately outside of the spotting of blue jays sneaking crumbs off the tabletop — filled the wooded back yard. It was like this each morning, my first week of relaxation in the beauty spot ofLong Beach, a spit of shell-strewn white sand that runs along balmyNoyackBay.
This was such a pleasant way to greet the morning, with …
Whistling. Peeps. Chips. Whines. Hoots and toots. Trills. Caws. Tweets and chirps.
Patrice said her father, George Lestrange, had obviously bought his house in a bird-song sanctuary. I never had the chance to meet him. I wish I had.
Sag Harboris paradise, my friend so often said before our getaway — two-lane roads scented with honeysuckle, the wharf washed with sea salt, deep blue skies as the picture frame — that I awaited faeries to flutter out from behind the sycamores.
Dream a little dream as Patrice always does.
Today they did flutter shortly after I awoke. With a cup of black tea, I washed the sleep from my eyes. As I took in the morning peace, two faeries emerged from the bush.
To the sides and behind the house was a U of thin shady woods embracing the back lot on Stoney Hill. Trees of the island — poplar, locust and oak — stretched up a leaf-covered incline, reaching to the top of the hill.
As my habit, I was an early riser. Patrice and her children were asleep. I spent the first of mornings this week alone. I took a sip of tea at approximately6:30 o’clock.
A muffled crashing sound.
A tumble-down sensation.
The sound of dry leaves on the ground rustled in a hurry.
Delicate thuds mixed in a natural rpm recording.
I turned right, and suddenly there he stood, a fawn, about18 inchestall, big eyes, black nose, reddish-brownish coat, spotted, like Bambi.
Or, was he a she?
I expected the tiny fawn to dart away immediately upon discovery. But the fawn stared as I stared in return. I had never been so close to this usually skittish child.
I whistled. Ears flicked.
He stayed still for a few seconds, and then …
Off like a frightened hare!
I smiled with the experience, presuming the skittish fawn was darting across the street to disrupt the morning rush minute into harbor town.
I was back to a second sip of my needed tea.
Suddenly, I heard the delicate thuds — now to my left, as I turned from my right. The fawn came flying around my back within ten feet.
Whoosh! The fawn had circled the house!
He was playing, or so I thought.
Not to be outdone by a single flight of fantasy, there was a second tumble-down-thudding-rustling that came from the same side of the lot.
I looked right.
Now there were two faeries — one fawn upon the other, but not for long.
The second fawn, unlike the first, didn’t stop. The second fawn, with a head of steam, was driving in the same direction as the former, but was, still, behind her playmate.
As the second fawn began her dash down the south side of the house, the first had already zoomed off, again, in advance of the second’s arrival. With delicate thuds sounding off a lawn seeded by acorns ofEast Endautumns, the first fawn raced behind me and stopped to the left in virtually the same place before — and stared.
The first fawn had circled the house twice!
This was a totally new experience.
Where was the other?
And as suddenly…
The second fawn, which had tailgated in hot pursuit of the first, came rushing up the north side of the house, delicate thuds the alerting refrain, and she stopped abruptly — opposite — in the lot from the first playmate.