Today my boyfriend (husband) invited me to lunch. After feeding the kids, finishing their read aloud, swiping on some very berry Merle Norman lip potion, and running through my snarls with a horse hair brush, I dashed out the door with kisses all around. Sometimes getting out the door is the hardest part of getting out the door. Down our long winding driveway I raced, past the mailbox, through the piles of dry crusty leaves accumulating at the end of our road, down the small lane, past the scary dog, the neighbors that are never home, and the neighbors that are always in their driveway, small wave, slow stop to turn out onto the long country road that leads to town, a few yards of nothing but landscape.......and then, I spied her.
A sweet baby deer had been hit, left alone in the middle of the pavement. I slowed just to observe, not sure why. Quickly my first thoughts went to the mother, and I scanned the perimeter hoping to catch a glimpse of a momma deer close by, nothing. As I passed the small pile of brown spotted softness, to my horror I saw her side move. My brown eyes darted to hers, and she glanced up. Poor baby, she was suffering alone. There was a small wet stain on the asphalt by her mouth, but no blood, no sign of the collision that must have taken place to land her here, alone on the street, dying. All I could think to do was to call Michael, he would know what to do, my white knight would have the answers. His voice reassured me, He said he was on his way. I know my man enough to know that he would think saving a baby deer was silly, but he knows me enough to know that i couldn't bear to not help. He didn't hesitate, he didn't give even a hint that he thought I was silly, he didn't act as if he didn't have time, or that he was late for lunch, and hungry, he just said, "I'll be right there". Quickly I pulled over, and pushed my flashers on. I had to do something, I couldn't drive on, I couldn't leave her alone. Slowly I approached her, and knelt down at her side. I touched her soft fuzz of a coat, and stroked her side. Flashes of my little ElizaJane appeared in my minds eye, oh how my precious little animal lover would adore a baby deer to nurse, and care for. Visions of a frolicking fawn in our yard flooded my thoughts, as I pondered vet bills, and what to do next. Save the deer, I thought, I must, what were my choices, leave her to die, I couldn't stand the thought of leaving her alone.
Next I called my Kartwright," there is a fawn" I choked," in the road, I want to save her, will you bring a blanket?" Again, not a "Oh Mom, it's just a deer", or "how are you gonna do that?", or a any hint of my silliness for caring so for a random wounded deer, but just again, "I'll be right there".
Meanwhile a big shiny red F150 pulled up, and out stepp a broad shouldered man with a navy fleece, and khaki painters pants. As he approached I dared to think that perhaps he would help me move her out of the road.
"You hit er?" he bellowed.
"No" I stammered, "I just came upon her".
"Wayell" he drawled "Ifn you jus leaver here, sheel ventully die", he suggested. Well, that sure is rocket surgery my redneck friend, I thought to myself, Ya think???? You mean, you don't think if I leave her here heaving on the road like this, she might just jump up, and live forever?
"Illa git er afterin she dies and move er outta the road ifin ya want" he offers. Oh my, how gentlemanly of you I imagined, as he made his way back to his shiny vehicle, and i waited alone again for the two men in my life that would not make me feel stupid for standing in the middle of a long country thoroughfare comforting a dieing deer!
Glad that the f150 had removed itself from my sweet deers presence, I soon spied my son's car cresting the hill. He pulled over, and quilt in hand approached the baby deer and myself.
"ummmmm, It's dead Momma" he said softly, as if perhaps she had been all along.
"I know" I stammered, "she just died".
Kartwright moved the spotted bundle far from the road into the soft grass, and quietly drove away. I too returned to my van, and turned back to town. Michael approached, and I told him the news. He sounded genuinely sorry that she had died before we could help her. His voice did not reveal relief, or frustration that he had made the trip, we made our plans for where to meet for our lunch and separately drove on to town.
As I drove the familiar route, big salty bitter tears rolled down my cheeks. Life is so very fragile I lamented, and I cried for a momma deer that no longer had her baby, and for myself that no longer had mine, and for all the mommas that have lost theirs. I wept for us all, and was reminded once again how very fleeting this life here on earth is, and how we must cherish it, but even more, we must make the most of it.
So, I wiped away the streaks of mascara that ran down each cheek, and had lunch with my best friend, my sweet husband, and we talked, and planned, and dreamed, and solved all the worlds problems in just an hour over a bean salad and corn chips. And as always we gazed into each others eyes, and just knew we would do it all over again if given the chance, and even wished we could.
Thankful today for
a dead baby deer that reminded me to live,
the men in my life that run to my rescue,
lunch with my BFF,
big salty bitter tears,
What are you thankful for today?