Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm in a sprawling old house in the country somewhere, trying to amuse or impress some young children; I don't know them very well. I look out the window at a fenced-in yard and happen to see a tiny spotted fawn dart out from behind a tree. Snow everywhere. I'm surprised that a deer would have given birth in this season. I rush out the back door to look for the fawn, encouraging the children to follow, and notice it ducking behind a tiny perfect pine tree. When I approach, two tiny fawns bolt, exquisite, incredibly delicate. I know that I should leave them alone, but justify my desire to catch one by rationalizing that their mother wouldn't have left them so near an inhabited house if she was really bothered by humans. The children egg me on as I quietly make my way to the miniscule pine. I see the hind flanks of one little deer and just grab hold of it when I am slammed from behind. I stand and turn and the mother deer, also quite small and delicate, rears up and grabs me with her front legs. She is nearly weightless but very strong, and we are grappling and flinging each other around. It's more like a ritualized dance than a real struggle, our eyes locked. Then she leans forward and bites me on the forehead and I let go and she and the fawns zip away. Adults from the house gather around me, very concerned, and somehow, through their eyes, I can "see" the deer's bite on my forehead, widely spaced blunt teeth marks, very red but she didn't break the skin. I accept everyone's help, and the thought crosses my mind that I should check myself for deer ticks. But secretly I'm delighted with the encounter.

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