Our house is on steep hill. A line of junipers peek over the sill of the long front window. From that window one spring I saw a fawn with spots at the edge of our wood, wobbly and blinking in the afternoon light. I felt like it was me. I ran out there spilling a saucer of milk all over me. When I got there the fawn and the milk were gone.

I remember a fat spider building his web in that window at sundown, between the tops of the junipers. How does he do it, I asked Dad. How does he get his web started in the air, and get the first thread across two bushes?
We looked on the Internet, in his office in the basement. The spider is a trout fisherman. He stands on a high cliff of juniper and casts a tiny loop of line on the wind. He waits for a tug on the line, then he reels himself across to the next cliff of juniper while the thread sways like the rope bridge to Macchu Pichu.

Every night for a week Dad and I came early to catch him fishing there. “Here he is,” one of us would call, but we were already too late, he was already midair, scurrying along the spokes of his web.

One spring we watched three baby rabbits grow up under that window. Every morning I ran there as soon as I woke up. One morning I saw a circle of two dozen turkeys holding a meeting there. Just that week we had waited for a parade of turkeys to cross a mountain road.

ME: Dad, those turkeys are here!

He came and held my shoulders and looked over my head.

HIM: Oops. Look again.

ME: Not turkeys?

HIM: See those bare necks?

We watched a lot of Animal Planet. That and Discovery were the only things he let me watch on a schoolnight. Dirty Jobs. How It’s Made. Bear Grylls. Mythbusters. The Savannah. The Serengeti. Only an hour while we ate, or bedtime would come before we finished the math.

ME: Vultures?

He nodded.

ME: They have one of our rabbits?

He nodded.

ME: Can’t we go hit them all with a big stick?

HIM: Do vultures kill things?

ME: No. They only clean up dead things.

He nodded.

ME (reciting): Everything that dies helps something else to live.

He nodded.

HIM: Remember our coyote yesterday?

I gasped.

ME: I’d like to hit him with a stick and break his back.

HIM: Him?

ME: Her?

HIM (nodding): She has a cub in these woods somewhere. She’s trying to feed it.

ME: Could we leave her some food? Some of Belly’s food?

HIM: You could try that. I don’t think she’d take it.

ME: Something would.

He nodded.

ME: Do you think we could find some rabbit bones?

HIM: I think so. Let’s look when the mourners go home.