Monday, June 7, 2010

Oh Deer

The big doe walked over the hill. I was below the crest looking for mushrooms. She stood staring at me. I was breathless. Standing near this beautiful creature was a gift.

We were in Michigan, one place we could still see deer. In Ohio I’d never seen wild deer. The wildest animals we saw on the farm were ground hogs, skunk, possum, snakes and other small creatures that lived as our neighbors. Living in Wisconsin, we saw deer on a regular basis.

Mom and Dad took me to visit Aunt Alma in Sebring, Florida in 1965. We went to the Highlands Hammock State Park. Aunt Alma introduced me to an armadillo, the catwalk into the Cyprus swamp where we listened to the alligators and the small deer so sweet and lovely. For this family of nature lovers, it was a memorable treat.

On an early morning drive to work, a small, mule deer jumped over the hood of my car. It happened so fast that I had no time to think, only to stay on the road. It jumped over the hood like someone shooting a basket ball through a hoop. Shaken, I continued on, but still marvel that the speed of the car, the curve of the road and the timing of the jump all worked to the good. I was very lucky.

My family was camping a few years ago. As we pulled into the campground entrance, a doe was walking the ditch with her two spotted fawns. In all my time of deer watching, I had never seen newborn fawns let alone twins. Evidently my days of deer watching were still open to new experiences and awe.

Many years ago when visiting my once boyfriends parents, I came across a deer next to the road. It was the first deer I’d ever seen in Ohio in all of my years of living there. Later I would sit at Mom and Dad’s big kitchen window and see a deer crossing Hollie’s field. For those who live there, they are often a nuisance. For those of us who didn’t have them in our growing up, they are a thing of beauty, a remembrance of our pioneer history.

Not often will I return to Neff Road, but I delight in knowing on Neff Road the deer have returned.

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