It was early in the spring and I was preparing myself to run a marathon around the middle of June. Typically, my weekly ‘long run’ found me on the cross country ski trails in Pinery Provincial Park near Grand Bend Ontario. For many years I had enjoyed walks in the park and come in contact with the local deer population. Always, such an event was a gift, since I believe that sighting a wild animal is a two way granting of favours, it will allow itself to be seen by you and you will respect its presence. It was early in the morning and the tall grass on the edge of the trail still held the previous night’s spider webs highlighted with tiny drops of dew glistening in the morning sunlight. I commented to my running partner that it was so unusual that we seldom, if ever, sighted deer in an area that was so heavily populated with them. We turned a sharp corner in the trail and headed along a perfectly straight stretch following the road by the lake when, totally unexpectedly, we ran towards a grouping of about 15 deer standing to our right. My heart jumped into my throat with joy and surprise and I picked up the pace as we headed towards them. At the instance when we came along side the group, one of them separated from the herd, jumped onto the trail directly in front of me and ran away from me at a lively pace. At that moment I could no longer contain myself. I broke into a sprint and gave chase, running faster than I had ever run before. With the herd stopped behind us, the two of us were locked in a duel, human against animal, running as if our lives depended on the outcome. For about 100 yards we were separated by mere feet. I heard its hooves hit the hard ground and its explosive breaths escaping its nostrils. My lungs were screaming for air and my head was pounding with the excitement of the moment. I was having a race with a deer, a deer, was racing with me. Suddenly it all came to an abrupt end. The deer decided that enough was enough. It threw up its stubby tail flashing me with that familiar white spot, made an abrupt turn to the left and headed for the safety of the underbrush. I stopped immediately and tried to understand what had just happened to me. Was this an accident, was it a gift of sorts, was I just oh so lucky? Of course I’ll never know, but what I do know is that for a very brief moment the deer and I were locked in something that was more than a race. The thrill of it was greater than words can describe, and I want to believe that the race was fun for both of us since the deer chose to race me. It was a feeling that comes only when you are offered an opportunity for something unique and you commit yourself to the event, an event that can transcend explanation, species, time and place. This was a moment when both of us behaved as animals on this beautiful planet had behaved for untold eons, until we broke the bond by inventing the club, the bow and arrow, the gun. I will always be grateful for that magical moment.
Hey Fred. Long time no read. Welcome back to the ‘Blogesphere’. Loved the ‘tale’ (tail)?
We went for a hike on the Komoka trail yesterday and saw a couple of deer. I just love the woods in the winter. Seeing the deer reminded me of that wonderful event a few years ago.
I trust you two are well and warm? Look forward to spring and visiting you.