The suns first rays painted fringes of feathery clouds a dusty pink as the old whitetail buck, carrying a heavy rack, stirred, aroused by a plump opossum waddling through a tangle of briers and sumac.
He rose slowly, stretched to loosen muscles and joints stiffened by better than six years of wandering in heat and cold, rain and snow, always seeking a meal. Scars were testament of having defended himself in many a fracas.
The rut had started, but at his age he had conceded early pirouettes of the annual mating ballet to young bucks, some his progenies.
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