She was simply known as "Momma" at our house.
I took the first photo of her in May of 2008.
Based on her size/weight, she was at least 2 years old.
Either that or she was wise beyond her years.
Not far from her in the first picture, is the first fawn she ever brought to the house.
It was a little buck.
We called her Momma because she was so very good at it.
She once chased our dog Smokie, across several acres because Smoke got too close to her fawn. I believe she would have pummeled her to bloody bits, had I not intervened.
In all the years that she's been coming, she's only lost one fawn.
When the other does lost fawns to predation, lack of food/water, or being hit by cars, Momma always managed to keep her fawn alive.
She let her fawns stay with her beyond when other does kick their fawns out of the proverbial nest.
There were two springs when she had a new fawn at her side, with the fawn from the previous year at her side as well. Built in babysitter, maybe?
Anyway, I speak of her in the past tense because she was hit and killed by someone in my neighborhood while I was away in Chicago.
She died on my property, which in a strange way makes me happy. At least I know what became of her.
How do I know it was her?
Her fawn comes to the same special place that I fed her and Momma every morning.
I'm just glad the fawn is weaned. He's actually doing quite well.
Still, I can't help but wonder how he will do without Momma's care and guidance this winter.
Nothing goes to waste in the wild, I guess that's why it's called the Circle of Life.
Her body was quickly down to a few scattered bones.
Vultures, coyotes, raccoons, and other top tier scavengers were replaced by smaller critters like rats and mice, and then finally the tiny beetles, ants and flies.
"Dust to dust" as the saying goes.
Am I sad?
There are so many other ways her death could have occurred. Suffering, as many deer do before death, was not how it ended for her. I think she died quite quickly.
She was a wild creature. She was always properly afraid of me.
I'm happy to have had the chance to see this wild creature every day for five years.