Tuesday, November 30, 2021

What of this deer?


I've been unable to shake an image from a recent walk along my favorite path in the park: a large buck trapped in the cold creek water, on a bitter cold day just before Thanksgiving, caught up somehow in broken branches, rocks, and vines, struggling unsuccessfully to get himself out. My friend and I were walking along, lost in conversation, when a young man interrupted us with a shout, "Excuse me! Please! Can you help? Look, look at this deer! Trapped in the creek!" 

There the deer was. Dying before our eyes. How he looked at us, eyes searching, filled with pain! Those eyes, staring directly at me.

I felt so helpless. Useless. Inadequate. 

I got out my phone and called for the county's animal control, and the phone just rang and rang. I called fire and rescue, explaining it was not an emergency, and shared the situation. They assured me that they would notify the proper authorities. The deer continued his struggle. Not knowing what more we could do, we walked on, hearts heavy, trying to imagine how the deer had ended up stuck like that in the creek - perhaps he'd been struck by a car on the roadway? 

We have so many deer in this area, and honestly - they have frustrated me so! This past spring and summer, it seemed as if every new bloom in my garden was eaten and destroyed by hungry deer. Yes, I have been plenty impatient, cursing their existence. But seeing this large buck trapped in this way - oh my, this was something altogether new. My heart hurt.

By the time my friend and I circled back on our walk, some 30 minutes later, there was no sign of the trapped deer - and for one brief, spectacular moment, we thought he had broken free. However, with a more studied look, we saw that it lay nearby, its now dead body mostly submerged in the creek, its round midsection and antlers protruding above the water.

We stopped for a quiet moment, and stared, taking it all in. 

Nearby, along the road, was a park police cruiser; we walked over to talk to the officer, to be sure that they knew about the dead deer in the water. The officer shared that they had come to investigate, having received a couple different phone calls, and they had found the deer with its leg broken. They shot the deer to put it out of its misery.  The officer was waiting for animal control, to dispose of the remains. 

Shooting the deer, oh my - this was both necessary and horrible. So many deer, so many humans, all of us mixed up together, sharing the world. 

I've tried to capture my mixed emotions in this poem:

what of this deer

what of this deer 

laying writhing dying 

in the cold creek water

trapped amongst branches

leg broken mangled hurt

he cant get up, get out, get going

what of this deer

leads me to compassion 

calling out soothing words of encouragement and concern

calling out for help from passersby

calling out for county assistance, proper authorities, animal rescue?

what of this deer

in my own yard

eating all the blossoms of the garden

leaving them mashed mangled bits of brokenness 

upon the surface of the soil

severing their futures

what of this deer

leads me to anger and frustration and shouting 

what of this deer?


It's Tuesday and I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for nurturing teacher-writers!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

dear neighbor

stunning surprising surreal
a dear neighbor died 

tingles all over

she was much too young
the death far too sudden

such a dear soul

grief as a wave overwhelming
chilling crumpling confusing
all of us in tears

this cold awareness
something beautiful and precious 
gone forever 

a hole in the whole

it must be obvious to all everyone anyone
stranger or friend
walking through our neighborhood -
the absence of light


It's Tuesday and I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for nurturing teacher-writers!

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

To bear fruit

Three year old granddaughter Frog was quietly engrossed with my doll collection, nestled on the hope chest in the hallway near our kitchen, happily ignoring the gathering crowd. There were too many new faces for her to feel comfortable, but she is social and curious enough to want to be on the periphery, listening in and watching. The hope chest and the doll collection were the perfect remedy.

My oldest brother and wife (her great uncle and aunt) were visiting from Maine - our first overnight guests since sometime before March 2020. How to describe the joy we felt to have overnight company? To have this sense of normalcy? I suggested a Saturday brunch for all my local family/relatives - my sons, my daughter-in-law, the granddaughters, a nephew, a niece, my younger brother and his wife. It was awesome! With all of us vaccinated (and many of the older folks with boosters, too), I had no issues with hosting an indoor brunch. 

I actually got a little watery-eyed when my nephew arrived, carrying a fruit salad - I hadn't seen him since before the pandemic began. What a gift to see him, to have him here with us! There was a chorus of hellos as he entered, and a sea of adults crowding in on him. As I reached to hug him, I managed to knock his carefully-balanced hold on the fruit - and BLAM! 
It splattered to the floor, 
the grocery store packaging split apart, and 
fruit and juice were flying skidding scattering all about.
Instant chaos ensued amongst all of us loving greeters - some squealing, at least one loud "oh no!," a sister-in-law dashing to find paper towels, me running to the sink for a dishtowel, my husband racing for the trash can, others jumping back to avoid the syrupy mess, still others - not entirely understanding that there was mess on the floor - moving closer to loudly welcome and embrace my nephew. 

One small unexpected hug led to one small unexpected mess to one quick and wild clean up involving a rather ridiculous number of adults - oh how I have missed these party moments!! Truly, even the spills are delightful after so many many months of no parties, no get-togethers, no others. I stood at the sink rinsing out the dishtowel and chuckling, everyone chattering, 
when all of a sudden 
I heard this low, scared, whimpering hum that grew into 
a loud, frightened, wail  - 

"Nana! Nana! Nana!"

We had forgotten about Frog. Entirely. She had watched this frenzied fruit salad melee from her odd vantage point on the side, probably seeing little more than rapid, impulsive movement of unknown thighs and bottoms alongside a variety of equally unknown loud voices - leaving her completely surprised and confused. She couldn't see her parents, she couldn't see her grandparents, what was going on? 

I rushed to her - she was now in child's pose on the hope chest, hands over her ears, trying to melt into the furniture and disappear, while big sobs wracked her body. I scooped her into my arms, and we moved to a quiet corner in the back of the house, away from the others, where I calmed her fears and explained the craziness. She was quickly soothed, and later charmed my nephew by calling him "the fruit salad cousin." So adorable! 

Frog delighted in the rest of the party, as did all of us. Imagine, three years into life, and unaccustomed to the high and unexpected energy of large get-togethers. All of us have a lot of catching up to do!

To good health and gathering together!! 

The view from a three year old's perspective

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

On Tuesdays, I run

On Tuesdays, before the sun, I run.

I repeated this little ditty as I crawled from my warm bed this morning, found my exercise clothes, pulled back my hair into a ponytail. 

On Tuesdays, before the sun, I run.

I run three times a week, and once a week it is in the dark of morning. 

On Tuesdays, before the sun, I run.

Lace up my shoes, get out the door...don't forget the reflective vest, the bright white sweatshirt. Running in the dark! It makes me feel, all at once, both adult and child - giddy and yet responsible, alert, aware. 

On Tuesdays, before the sun, I run.

Today it is cold, it is cold, it is cold...I am running before I even leave my driveway... only in the low 40s, my first cold running day in a long while... thin gloves and fleece headband much-needed...I try to convince myself: it's not bad, not bad, not bad. Maybe even invigorating? 

On Tuesdays, before the sun, I run.

I am grateful for my quiet neighborhood, though I would love to see a few more folks out. Where are all the dog-walkers? I suppose they are dog-backyarders at this hour?

On Tuesdays, before the sun, I run.

Where are the stars? My last early morning run, the sky was awash in stars, clear with constellations, bright and comforting. Today, ah, nothing but clouds, yet still comforting - the sky is a blanket of grey-white-blue-black.

On Tuesdays, before the sun, I run.

Today I am celebrating one year of running, one year of getting back into this very good habit for me, three days a week, 
Tuesdays, Fridays, Sundays, 
Tuesdays, Fridays, Sundays, 
Tuesdays, Fridays, Sundays, 
on and on, 
one after another.
One year! Woohoo! One year!

On Tuesdays, before the sun, I run.