Saturday, August 27, 2011

Deer meets Car in the suburbs

Main Street was busy for a Monday at 10:30am, and that was too bad for the deer. I was startled to see him cut across oncoming traffic, head down and loping clumsily. This stretch of road was very commercial and not a normal place to see a deer. I couldn’t tell if he was going to pass in front of the silver wagon two cars in front of me or get clipped, and I noticed half a beat later I was holding my breath. A long moment held, then he bounced straight up off the car’s front, twirling, legs stiff and extended like he was a blow-up doll. He tumbled end over end, unnaturally, popping off into the grass. All of us tapped our brakes as if a community, each recoiling and hyperaware. Another long pause, and the deer leapt up and loped back across the road to the small thicket from where he’d come. I was shaken, witnessing something so violent and out of place for my suburban town, and I mused about the effects of seeing real violence instead of an animal getting unnaturally knocked around.

Three hundred feet down the road, I grabbed eggs and arugula for the evening’s quiche and salad and passed the same way again. Why I thought to look toward that thicket, I don’t know, but there he was—had to be the same animal, standing very still under a tree, head facing the road, watching. I wondered if it was in shock, maybe experiencing internal bleeding and minutes from collapsing in death. That's as close as soccer moms like me get to violence and death, other than heart attacks and 9/11. Realizing that makes me feel weak and small, and I snap at my toddler, who prods me with a licorice stick from the back seat. 

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