Friday, November 6, 2009

"Wild Life on an Autumn Afternoon"

 [Originally posted to MySpace November 6, 2009, 5:06 PM]

So, my buddy Boyd and his coworker needed a ride to work today.  So, after dropping them off to work at the top of Basin Run Road, I took the Basin Run to Sylvan Grove way home.  On coming to the cut through the woods before the stop sign at Sylvan Grove, there right after V*****'s...halfway through...a deer runs across the road right in front of me, so I slow down as it crosses and then I stop.  The deer stops.  I inch up ever so slightly.  Few people travel these roads so I will generally stop if I see something and watch it as it goes on its way.
The deer does not move.  Its head moves as it eyes my car over while I inch up to get a better straight open view at the critter.  It is approximately 15 feet or so away from me off of the road right before the terrain goes up into an embankment.  I come to a stop and its head stops---looking right into my opened window at me.  Its eyes appearing to look right into my eyes.
The deer was a stag, a decent sized four-point with its left antler slightly lopsided, but otherwise, a beautiful specimen of nature.  I thought it was odd how the stag was just standing there looking at me and not advancing.  I wondered at first if there would be another deer coming out from my left, but couldn't see one anywhere.
For a good while I just sat there, on the side of the road, staring into the eyes of this deer, it appearing to look back at me.  It doesn't move.  It's waiting.  I inch up a little more to get a better view then pull my car into park.
We both look into each others eyes long enough that it is almost so awkward I feel I should start conversation.  Long enough that I start wondering what the deer is seeing.  What is it thinking about what it is seeing?  Long enough that I start wondering what the deer is feeling.
How is the food this season?  Are you ready for the winter?
It's black eyes stare hauntingly at me, like genius covered in stupid....vacant, yet they hold everything in their vacancy.  It's eyes are like a black hole, sucking in its perimeters.  I am the singularity.
I'm thinking, you jumped out of the way of my car, yet you're staring at me here and if I were a hunter with a gun you would be dead, but you don't seem to care at all.
He was in a rutting trance.  He was mesmerized.  He was on a mission.
His mouth grinds slightly, then stops.
But his head still had not moved away from staring at me.  And I am pretty sure I checked the clock a couple of times.
After I had decided I should probably make the first move, I eventually try to inch up a tad again, and then I hear leaf action from behind me and to the right, as he also moves forward slightly.  Then, I see what I had thought was there all along, another deer, a doe, climbing up the bank.
I watch her through the veil of small tree limbs and pine needles as she comes to a stop at the top, and immediately drops a pile of dung.
The stag has advanced only a couple feet up the bank and is now standing, head bent, looking up at her.  He turns and looks at me.  He looks at her.  He looks at me.  He looks at her.
I'm enthralled.  I feel like I'm inside the Discovery Channel at this point.  What is going to happen?  Is he going to mount her in front of me?
It's okay, I understand.  Go get her.
As I'm watching her watch him and watching him watch her and watch me, I notice a car coming in the distance.  He climbs the rest of the way up the bank, and is standing about 40 feet or so away from her probably.  They're farther away now, but I have my eyes on both of them through the trees.  I'm looking at him, as he's looking over at her, and I am thinking he will go right towards her, but he goes left.
As the other car advances toward me, I pull my car over an inch or so more and I turn to look at the car as they go around me wondering if they see, but the lady driving only looks annoyingly at me as she passes.
I turn back to the Discovery Channel.
I can't see them anywhere.  The stag or the doe.
I scan through the branches for their figures, desperately for a second.
A touch of sadness fell over me, but I figured I best leave them to their play.
As I drove away I was thinking of what a neat blessing it was to be able to experience and enjoy such a simple thing...and right then a female grouse ran out onto the road.
...and then I stopped.
She stopped.
I looked at her.
She looked at me for a moment and then slowly started walking across the road, bobbing her head.
I smile wide and my heart laughs watching it.  I love to watch the morning doves in my back yard chase each other around like this.  Birds that shape are like older overweight ladies in a hurry.  They look silly moving fast, like they're running in heals holding their skirts up, their heads bobbing and feet flopping.
I love Pennsylvania wild life.


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