Today, I saw deer.
Three deer to be exact, and not out in the middle of the woods or in some farm field, but right across the street from where I work.
When I was growing up, deer weren’t a novelty. I lived in northern Michigan (the northern lower peninsula to be precise), right between woods, farmland, and Amish country, and deer seem to have an affinity for the woods and fresh Amish baked bread. My grandparents had deer feeders in their backyard so we could watch them at fairly close range (watch the deer, not my grandparents). We always got excited to see fawns in the spring. In the fall, the men folk would go out and hunt. I don’t think it ever crossed my mind that some people weren’t into hunting until I was older because everyone I knew did it.
I went hunting with my dad when I was a teenager a couple times. Got buck fever. Never shot anything, but venison sausage is one of the best things ever. While I like shooting a big gun every once in awhile (not a euphemism), hunting as a hobby never took.
As I grew older, I actually started to hate deer. Oh sure, they’re pretty and fun to watch, but once the “ooh shiny” wears off, you realize that they’re a road hazard on four legs. Michigan deer (and Kansas deer, from what I’ve been told) wait along the highways and byways, edging closer and closer, waiting for their moment to run across the road. If you happen to be the lucky sucker they run in front of, you’d better hope you have good brakes.
Since moving to Kansas, I haven’t seen as many, though they haven’t been completely scarce. This morning I pulled into my normal parking spot, where I proceeded to enjoy my breakfast sandwich before heading into office monkey territory for the next eight hours. I happened to look across the road, and there they are, wandering the field and checking out the road.
The field is between us and university land. There are apartments and buildings surrounding it, and while there are small trees, it’s not a heavily wooded area. To the north, there is more flatland and woods. These deer had wandered into our area and for a few minutes, it looked like they were going to try to cross. Which made me nervous. After seeing a cyclist down yesterday, I had the feeling that a deer would get owned and own someone’s car in return if they tried to cross the road. In the first place, that’s a busy time of morning between people going to work and students going to school. It’s also at the top of a hill, so someone coming over the hill too fast or not paying attention was going to hit one.
Watching nature is surreal sometimes. All these cars were going past and the deer were still edging up further and further, cautiously, tentatively. In my head, I was thinking “Here it comes..here it comes…”
But then, the local ATA public transportation bus drove by and that was it. They turned their little white tails and took off. I’m not sure what it was about the bus…maybe it was the sound or the stronger smell of diesel fumes…but they were having none of it. In fact, it kind of reminded me of this guy from A&E’s “Obsessed” who had a phobia of El Caminos (if I’m coming across as heartless for making fun of a guy with OCD, I’m really not. I loved that guy!).
Obviously, deer don’t do public transportation.
So crisis averted, and I didn’t have to witness a hit and run involving Bambi or his mother. I am, however, reminded that fall is on the way, so I’d better be a little more watchful in the coming weeks.