A lot of deer live in this fine city, and I am pleased to share sidewalks and road ways with them. I like them. Yet it is unrequited liking.
Last week I was hiking through the miles of trails coursing Riverview Park, and was arrested by a herd of deer. I don't mean they pulled out badges, I mean that there were a lot of them, the nearest one about twenty feet away.
The meandering wooded trails bent archly. Upon looping around one of them, the herd was there like the G20 Summit with fur. They stood still at odd angles to one another, neatly spaced by a fathom, thin saplings poking up in between them. This was a unified gathering of deer.
It was a form of arrest, because I had to stop walking. This type of proximity is reserved for fables. No muse worth tapping into would waste the opportunity, nor will I.
A herd of deer in the woods takes more than a few seconds to take in because they blend in with wooded areas. This was a nicely camoflaged conference. Looking around slowly, the number of deer eased into awareness. The one closest to me gave me a slow once over, like it was checking the meter on the side of your house. Then it looked away, towards the second nearest antlerless deer. Might have been bucks, could have been does, might have been the season they drop their antlers.
The second deer gave me the look. I saw the same look on one of the foreign exchange students back at college. It's a cultured expression of mistrust. The closest deer gave me another glance, this time, clearly in a defensive though still dissmissive frame of mind. Some of the others in the herd were the first to speak.
"Why is that asshole standing there," I overheard a faun say to it's brethren laying peacefully under a sparse bush.
I could discern the voice of a buck by it's depth and resonance. "Just ignore the moth eaten piece of shit. We're here, and asshole is over there. Fuck 'em." the elder animal said, not loudly, but he knew I could hear.
Then the one closest to me, so near I could almost pet it, turned to me again, and said, "What are you looking at, Shithead?"
Then it turned it's head away, as if I wasn't there. But it knew I was still there. The next closest deer turned to me and said, "Why don't you bring a gun, Hiawatha?"
Don't they understand that is was they that accosted me?