Porcupine, Fawns and Turkeys – A Winter Woodland Celebration

Birthday Morning

In late October, I woke to a landscape glittering and bright in the golden sun of daybreak. It was the first snow of the season, and this particular day was my birthday. Through the window, from the warmth of my bed, I watched a rabbit making tracks as our Newf, Shamus, ate frosted crabapples straight from the tree. The view made me cheerful for the first time in a long while.

Lately, my mood had sagged like a three-sizes-too-big pair of socks around my ankles. My hands (as many of you already know) had been diagnosed with a disfiguring, incurable disease and a second malady was highly suspect. But today, with the whitewashing of the world, all of that was erased.

October Porcupine by Kim Clune

As the sun edged over the roof-line and warmed the space under our three-tree apple orchard, our friendly porcupine emerged from the forest. This was our third meeting. (For more about that, visit My Unlikely Encounter with a Porcupine and Return of the Porcupine, an Apple Fest.)

The twin fawns sauntered out next. Having been suckled and weened under these very trees, they tiptoed carefully around this new prickly arrival, jumping back at the slightest breath. As hunger overcame their hesitancy, they learned to eat peacefully side-by-side with the porcupine, albeit with a watchful eye.

For an added surprise, our fine flock of turkeys marched up the hill. With more confidence than trepidation, they took note of the situation and strutted straight past the napping marsupial to snap up chunks of birthday apples for themselves.

This magical dance of wildlife comings and goings went on into the early afternoon and, as the snow dripped and dropped from warming limbs, I ventured outside for a close encounter myself. The air was thick with the soft thuds of heavy golden leaves dropping and melted snow falling like a soft and gentle rain. This white noise masked my measured footfalls as I drew near.

Only the porcupine was present then, snoozing with steam streaming off her back in the heat of the sun. She had rocked back onto her rounded behind, elbows resting on her thighs and hands folded below her drowsily bobbing head. At times, the loose snow pack from the tree above would break free and tumble onto her without effect. The world literally rolled off her back that afternoon and, when she woke to eat again, even my presence was no bother.

And so we spent several hours side by side, making my birthday nothing short of magnificent. This small but bright and healing being brought me tremendous peace and joy. But our relationship didn’t end there…

I hope you’ll come back next week for another piece of the story.


  1. Great video Kim! I love to watch the wildlife in my backyard too – deer, turkeys, rabbits, squirrels, groundhogs and raccoons, but no porcupines yet!

    • Thanks, Vicki! Funny, we never see raccoons (although I know they’re around). Truth be told, we should never have seen a porcupine, but the reason why she was here is coming up in my next post.

  2. Porcupines are really quite cute close up, aren’t they? I can’t really say the same for the turkeys…

    I am so glad you enjoyed such a peaceful birthday. I really appreciate you sharing a slice of that with this video. The scene with the deer under the tree and the snow falling, was nothing short of magical.

  3. You live in a winter wonderland 🙂 So happy to hear that so much beauty surrounded your on your birthday, you deserve it!!

    • Thanks, Julie. I can honestly say, that was the best birthday experience I’ve ever had.

      Funny about living in a winter wonderland. The most snow we had was in October. Tomorrow’s going to be 50, which is unheard of in Upstate, NY for late January. The Newf is getting robbed of his season! I used to complain that I was moving to Florida every winter. No need now!

  4. I’ve absolutely adored this series of posts. 🙂

    • Thanks for adding them to your “8 posts I loved this month,” AJ! I loved all the posts you picked and, as always, I’m thrilled to be in such good company.

  5. Kim, you write in such a beautiful, magical way. I was reading your post on my phone yesterday and felt like I was there. I loved seeing the actual video. Who gets to enjoy moments like this? I would bet not a lot of people do. I am so glad you captured it. Watching the deer and the turkeys cautiously approach the porcupine was cool and watching the porcupine shake of the wet snow was amazing. Makes me wish for the days when I was a pet sitter. I saw amazing things when I was out and about during the day, but most of the stuff I marveled at was the wildlife – the deer wandering through a client’s neighborhood, a black fox wandering through a farm field, coyotes running across a frozen lake. Those are the moments I will never forget. I’m betting you won’t forget this one anytime soon.

    • Mel, I’ve lived here for almost 9 years and I have never seen anything like this. I think you’re right. It’s a rare treat, indeed – for anybody! I was so enamored, I shot hours and hours of footage. It took me 3 days to make this video because there was so much to weed out. I didn’t want to miss a minute!

      I’ve never seen a black fox. That must have been amazing! With all of your experiences, I can see why you’d miss being there. Memory is an enormous gift, one that we can revisit often and whenever we wish. I think that’s why I’ve watched this video about 20 times now. And when I’m not watching, I still go there in my head. I’m sure you do that plenty too. 🙂

  6. I’m sorry about your hands, but thanks for the lovely post about winter wildlife and the beauty of nature. Best wishes for health and happiness.

  7. What an amazing amazing yard. It must be so wonderful to be able to feel close to nature like that. When times are tough here, I always love to look to nature. Animals have such a remarkable way of pushing forward and making their lives work, no matter what adversity may fall their way. I admire that greatly. I wish I could emulate them a little better.

    • I know what you mean about searching out nature in tough times. The animals sure do teach us a great deal about moving forward. I guess that little porcupine letting the snow roll off her back is to be taken literally. I could stand to learn from that too.

  8. How cool that the animals all showed up on your birthday – I’m glad they got the invitations. The Wildlife Postal System can be so unpredictable. =D

    • You are so thoughtful, Amy! Thanks for arranging that! Can you order up the weather too? My, you’re so talented. But I knew that. It’s what drew me to you, my friend. 🙂

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