by Ute Carson
Ascent Aspirations, October 2013

Civilization collided with nature the day the deer got hit.

A small herd dashed across a busy highway causing cars to swerve and brake, when a frantic youngster slipped on the pavement and its front legs were caught under the left rear tire of the truck and bloodied. The driver pulled over and dragged the motionless creature off the road and into high grass. He believed it was dead.

Darrell could not rid himself of the image of the deer. That evening he asked his wife Carolyn to ride with him to the scene of the accident. To their great surprise the deer was up, standing next to a boulder, protected by leafy bushes. Hope flared up like the white flag of the yearling's tail. Nature can heal itself! As they approached, the frightened creature hopped rabbit-like on its hind legs into deeper brush. Carolyn uttered an incantation for a quick recovery, and the two vowed to return.

When they came back the following evening, the deer had moved again and was stretched out on a bed of moss in some tall weeds. Because the day was steaming hot, the couple had brought along a bucket of water and a few pieces of lettuce. As they crept toward the deer, its amber-colored eyes widened and it perked its velveteen ears, sensing danger. At arm's length Carolyn was able to sprinkle drops of water on the animal's nose which it eagerly licked off.

The next evening looked less hopeful. The deer had crawled away and was now camouflaged by heavy branches. It looked up as the ground crunched at Darrell and Carolyn's cautious approach. It did not seem frightened but dazed.

A decision had to be made. Carolyn had called animal control and was informed that the neighborhood was overrun by deer. Half of the present population was slated for elimination and their workload was heavy, but they would come as soon as possible to euthanize the deer, "humanely of course." They asked Carolyn to call back if that was her wish.

The couple talked about what to do next. Earthy wisdom prevailed. Because no predators had attacked on previous nights and the yearling was hidden from sight, they decided against any further human intrusion. Carolyn prayed for a peaceful natural death.

When they visited a couple of days later their hearts sank. There were tire marks and the woods had been hacked back toward the secret place. The deer was gone. There was no evidence of a struggle, only a soft indentation in the nest of undergrowth.

The couple held hands as they made their way back to the truck. Tearing up, Carolyn whispered, "I hope the deer died before animal control got here."

"I hope so too," Darrell answered.

They were startled by a white vehicle parked on the path. Two guys jumped out. "Seen a dead deer? We got a call to pick one up?"

"No deer around here," they answered in unison and smiled.

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