I was driving home from London today, taking a well-treed secondary road called Dingman Drive. At one point, I looked to my left and saw the curve of a bare field against a grove of trees. And … sploing! I was transported back years ago when Jody and I used to go deer hunting.
If you know me from my writing, you might be surprised that I’m a hunter. Well, I’d be pretty surprised myself if I actually wanted to take another being’s life. I do not kill deer. I find them. I gaze at them in wonder and kinship. Or so I did with my beloved wife when we lived in Union, Ontario.
Once firmly ensconced in my Lazy Boy chair this afternoon, I knew what I’d be doing in the late evening, after tackling all the packing for tomorrow’s trip. Scarlet and I would go looking for dear. (I just misspelled the word, or did I?)
Sunset was at 7:48 tonight. At 7:43, I was on the road, heading back to Dingman. And my heart was going pitty-pat. I remembered the pitty-pats of long ago, and the joy of seeing a graceful animal at the edge of the woods. Oh, the joy of anticipation, of yearning for contact, of sharing the world with a four-legged one. I would travel the quiet Drives – Dingman, Westminster, Scotland and Manning. And maybe I’d have company.
No friends lingered in the fields of Dingman. There was lots of corn, though, perfect for hiding the brown ones. A thought came that has often been my companion: Even if I don’t see them, they are there. This is their land, and the sense of deer is here. That’s always been comforting when my searches don’t seem to produce results.
As I turned onto Westminster, I was soaring. I was in relationship with other beings, whose lives were so different from mine. The communion was important, far more so than sightings.
Westminster was empty of me seeing deer … Scotland as well … Manning the same. My timing was perfect, bracketing the sunset. Surely my friends were out there feeding, no doubt hidden by the corn. In October, once farmers have taken off their crop, the fields will be bare and I’ll get in Scarlet about 6:30 to seek my fellow citizens of planet Earth.
Jody will be along for the ride, cheering me on.