Oh! The Lessons You Learn
“Mom what is that?” I gasped and clung to her alarmed .
“I don't know, honey.” she replied calmly as she patted my arm and turned the flashlight toward the sound.
Lessons from Mother Nature,
Sometimes Mother Nature has a lesson to share, such as how deer react in certain situations. Sometimes, these lessons are frightening and abrupt, while others are calm and interesting. My mom and I learned to always watch for these unexpected lessons and respect Mother Nature.
Our lesson took place on a warm and muggy summer evening in the backyard of my childhood home when I was about fourteen years old. We lived in a two story pink house on 1.5 acres of land surrounded by woods. Behind the house was a brick path that led past a small white garage, storage shed, and dog run right to a four foot deep above ground pool. Our four foot deep above ground pool was about half way to the rear property line which was fifty feet beyond a line of trees in the backyard just past our garden and a large raspberry bush that cover the hillside behind the pool . Everyday, we walked down the brick path back to the pool, not only to swim, but to clean it because dirt would collect in the bottom from swimming , the wind, and storms . We had to fill the pool so the pump could filter the water properly. We also had to keep a vigilant watch because squirrels would drown in the pool though we never could explain how they got into it in the first place.
Hey! People! I'm coming through!
That night we turned on the water to fill the pool and the pump to filter the water after I myself, my sister and some of our friends went swimming , Then we returned to the house to eat dinner. Mom had made lasagna hamburger helper, a potful since my sisters friends joined us often for dinner. After everyone finished eating and the dishes were washed, mom asked me to go with her to turn the water and pump off at the pool.
It was dark by then and the yard light only lit up the yard by the house. Past that was pitch black. The crickets were singing accompanied by the drone of the pump, the trickle of water running into the pool, the occasional car driving by and the song of the frogs. The air was perfumed by the lilac flowers blooming on the bushes around the house as well as many other wild flowers . We carried a flashlight as we ambled down the brick path to the pool talking happily and enjoying the beautiful night. We talked of the stars, the fireflies dancing on the breeze and of our days, comfortable in each others company.
Suddenly, we heard a terrible snorting and what sounded like an animal pawing at the ground. This was followed by what could only be described as a horse galloping towards us. We could feel the ground vibrate as the unknown animal charged us and the tension in the night air was palpable, even the crickets had stopped chirping. The worse part was we couldn't see what was out there!
Mom and Me
"What do we do?"
“Mom what is that?” I gasped and clung to her alarmed .
“I don't know, honey.” she replied calmly as she patted my arm and turned the flashlight toward the sound. The beam of the flashlight illuminated the biggest buck we had ever seen charging us! Mom and I froze in fear as the buck bore down on us. All I could think is ”Oh my God! We're gonna die!” Then I heard mom praying for help and joined in. We trembled from head to toe and held our breath waiting for the buck to hit us.
Then at the last minute, the buck veered away before he ran us down, leaving us breathless and shaken. What a relief! It took a few moments for us to collect our nerves and continue to the pool marveling at how lucky we were. Mom looked at me, I looked at her. “I'm gonna need a change of clothes after that.” she smiled.
“Me, too.” I agreed and then we both started giggling in relief and at our comments too thankful we were in one piece.
Repeat performance? No way man!
We quickly turned off the water and pump, wanting to get back to the house before there was a repeat performance. As we headed down the path back to the house, our light illuminated a group of doe's and fawns we did not see earlier and watching over them was the buck that had charged us a few minutes before. He eyed us with. concern, his rigid stance seemed to say “ Don't make me charge again.”
We stayed a safe distance away and quickly returned to the house with the crickets happily chirping again as we recounted the encounter to the rest of the family who echoed our sentiments that we were indeed lucky. My dad told us that most likely we had come between the buck and his charges. Something we had already figured out. They told us they were glad we were OK. Frankly, so were we and we didn't want to contemplate what could have happened had the buck not veered away. That was the most scared I had ever been with the exception of the tornado that sideswiped us on vacation and that is the most scared I ever want to be.
Deer charges man taking picture.
In retrospect, we learned two important lessons that night. First, always pay attention to our surroundings as danger lurks in even the most peaceful places. And second, Bucks don't take too kindly to anyone or anything getting between them, the females or the fawns. Since that fateful night, I have always had a healthy respect for deer and watch that I don't get where the males perceive me as a threat. I know now that even the most seemingly harmless creatures can suddenly become dangerous if they feel threatened in anyway. Mother nature sure has some wild lessons and even wilder ways to teach them.