On the home stretch of this morning’s walk, as I moved along a section of Route 62 where there are woods on both sides of the road, two deer stood on the pavement while a car approached. Fortunately, they crossed over without incident, and the car slid by.
Normally the deer would promptly vanish into the trees. This time, though, the female stood, framed in the glow of a street light, and stared at me, her primal black eyes glittering in the lamplight. It was unnerving — and suddenly I felt all of my senses on high alert, providing the kind of acute awareness of my surroundings not felt since I was in a movie theater with a high school date, conscious of every movement she made and trying to figure out whether they meant that she was receptive to holding hands.
The deer wasn’t watching to admire my walking form. The only logical conclusion was a fawn was still on my side of the road, and the mother deer was waiting and watching to make sure they were reunited. If so, that meant I needed to get out of the area without confronting Bambi, or the two deer might come down on me in an unpleasant New Albany version of When Animals Attack. So I listened carefully, sniffed the air and smelled the lingering musky odor of the two deer that had passed, kept one eye out for the mother and the other for the child, and kept moving ahead at a steady pace. The mother watched me the whole way.
My primitive senses aren’t very sharp, because I never saw the fawn, but after I passed I turned back to see what was happening. Sure enough, the mother crossed the road again, and a small deer emerged from hiding right where I had passed. The mother sensed my presence and turned and stared at me again with those intense, wild eyes. I decided it was wise to move along.