I like to walk in the woods in the winter. You don’t have to worry about ticks and chiggers, and it isn’t good for you to sit in the house all day. Sometimes you might come across something scary, like this steer head:
I took this picture near the river by my house, and at first I was a little alarmed. Why would someone hang a steer head on a tree? Was it a warning not to walk there? I was reminded of being a kid, worrying about “No Trespassing” signs, and having to wear blaze orange all the time so that a hunter wouldn’t shoot you.
But Chatham County is very different from King William County. Most people where we live don’t post “No Trespassing” signs; they consider it sort of rude. Our neighbor down the hill wanted to do some target-shooting on his property with his dad and was politely asking everyone who lived near him if that was okay. I said “fine with me,” because I was pretty sure someone else would say no. And they did.
I was glad to find out from a neighbor that the steer head was just an aesthetic experiment–the woman who hung the head from the tree wants the skull. We were even assured, without asking for this detail, that the steer had a good life on an organic farm.
Here’s another photo of the head, taken with my flash after it had gotten a little darker:
And here it is in the snow:
Today I noticed that it has started to smell.