Saturday, November 9, 2013

What To Do When You Hit A Deer

I hit a deer last Monday on my way to work. It was such a beautiful creature, so strong, and it flew out of the woods over a stone wall in the dark just before dawn. It was a young buck, maybe three points. I noticed the antlers as it kicked on its side in the ditch, trying to stand. It seemed so wrong to have such a strong body unable to get back up, so fatal. The front and driver's side of the car was crumpled in, even though he came out of the woods on my right. A few more inches and he would have missed me, sailed right over me.  I had to push hard against the door to get it opened. The car was a goner also. You could hear the leak of transmission fluid in there somewhere under the mangled metal. I called my wife and then dialed 911, standing in the middle of the road. As I talked, the deer somehow got back into the woods, still unable to stand, and I could hear it rustling loudly through the leaf litter. I wanted to run and hug it, hold it, do what I could, but what could I do? The thing about wild creatures is they are beyond our pity but not our tragic incompetence.
Then later I learned that the police found it in the woods and shot it. They contacted the landowner who hauled it out of there with an ATV. At least he got a good supply of venison, I hope. I got to work in my wife's car and she walked home while the policeman filled out the accident report. It all happened so fast and today we went car shopping and the salesman said unlike in the past people generally know exactly what they want when they come into the showroom thanks to the Internet and the newly transparent nature of information flows. I wish we could do something about our transportation flows to make them less damaging, though. I'll always think of that buck when I drive past that spot on the road now, where the stone wall dips a little and gets lost in the slightly darker shadow of the woods. The rains a couple of days ago washed out the dark streak in the asphalt where the car leaked its fluid. I'll miss that car, too.
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