Sunday, November 4, 2012

Presumptuous neighbors

On Thursday, I still didn't have electricity, so I stepped out onto the front porch at dusk to suck in the last of the light. Four deer were standing on my lawn, two does and two -- I guess you call them yearlings. They've lost the spots and that frail look, but they aren't yet full adult size.

They didn't bolt. They stood and looked at me for a good long moment, then three of them nonchalantly ambled off. One of the youngsters stayed, staring at me. I spoke to it.

"I don't mind you being here as long as you don't eat my garden." It put its head down as though to graze, but didn't, then looked back up at me. "I feel there's something you want to tell me, but we aren't communicating."

I shined my flashlight at it to see what would happen. Its eyes glowed back at me, bright silver. Aha. They're crepuscular so they have a reflecting membrane behind their eyes, like cats. I remembered that for some reason, deer are attracted to light so unscrupulous hunters will shine headlights to attract them. (It's against the law, although I'm not exactly sure why. Too unsporting, I guess.)

Finally I went inside and only then did I see the deer wander off, through the window. They're getting much too tame. What's natural is for me to shoot and eat them when I get the chance, and for them to flee me like a hornet sting. Instead we're entering into some ineffable communion. It ain't right.


  1. I'm having a similar experience with a doe and her two yearlings. They don't run from me. They come by and eat the bird seed I scatter on the ground for the ground feeders we have here. They are appropriately wary, but I think they could be a bit more so. I hope they have well-honed instincts for knowing who's going to wave hello to them and who is going to blow their brains out.

  2. they can spot softies right away. they certainly notice that you don't have a dog.