So last evening as we were leaving baby's house, which is not exactly in the country, but is not in town either, a large doe was standing on the side of the road. We stopped the car and it bounded across the road and into someone's yard, a neighbor who lives three or four houses down from baby.
Lots of people have small gardens in their yards, and I figured the doe was headed for one. But when we got even with the house, we stopped the car to look, and there was the doe, eating out of the bird feeder. There was a nice garden just fifteen yards away. It appeared that the doe made a beeline for the feeder, though; this appeared to be a regular ritual.
Day before yesterday, there was a fairly large groundhog in baby's back yard. The yard has three apple trees in it, and the groundhog was munching on an apple that had fallen on the ground. This despite the presence of a large dog in the yard. However, when I came out and started throwing the ball for the dog, the groundhog scuttled away in that shuffling gait groundhogs have, through the fence and under a neighbor's garden shed.
Animals seem to be able to adapt to having people around and even taking advantage of that fact. They often find ways to coexist peacefully with us and take advantage of the food, water and shelter we provide. Once our son saw the cover we have on our outdoor gas grill moving around oddly and went out and lifted it up to find three opossums fighting for space underneath so they could keep out of the rain. I see signs of all kinds of animals that drink out of our tiny 3x5 pond - including that cat, who has a nice pottery water bowl of her own in the house. And nearly everyone has hosted a bird who built a nest inside a bike helmet or hanging plant.
Peaceful co-existence seems to come pretty naturally to animals. I'm not so sure about people, though - but I do wonder, does the family put out extra bird seed for the deer?