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Thinking ‘bout: Deer

“Oh d-d-d-[deer].”

-Piglet from Winnie the Pooh.

My daughter wouldn’t go to sleep, so we walked the neighborhood. Usually, after one lap around a path behind our house, she starts to doze, and there’s at least a decent chance she’ll sleep when we come back inside.

The picture above was taken on lap 3. We were walking, and Thea, who usually is pretty zoned out and quiet outside, was not having it. She was a bucket o’ fuss. She was squirming, screaming, punching, kicking, and exhibiting all of the other behavior Gerber and Huggies ads tend to gloss over.

Over the screams, I heard walking behind us. I turned around, expecting to see one of the many people who look upon me with sympathetic eyes on such walks. Instead, I saw the merry band pictured above.

It was odd to see so many deer behaving so casually. As an English teacher, I am sometimes drawn to impute symbolism onto such events, like the American Transcendentalists would have. Yes, it almost felt like something out of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.

Were I a Transcendentalist, perhaps this would make me ponder simplicity, like Ralph Waldo Emerson. Perhaps my thoughts would turn to the beautiful shared tomb of the world described in William Cullen Bryant’s “Thanatopsis,” and I would delight in the finality of Nature’s circle of life, and cherish the glimpse into the divine this clan of Her emissaries had provided. Or maybe, were I prone to such Romantic thoughts, I would reflect on the words another dead white guy with three names, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in his poem “The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls”:

“The little waves, with their soft, white hands,

Efface the footprints in the sands...”

and ponder my own life’s brevity, and the future that belongs only to my daughter’s generation.

Yes, were I a Romantic, I would see these deer as Mother Nature’s divine attempt to soothe my own turbulent, frustrated soul, as I walked yet another lap to soothe my fussy babe.

But me being me, I’m positive those deer were bragging that their babies walk independently seconds after being born.