My parents do not live in the middle of nowhere, technically (you may be understandably confused because you might have heard me refer to it as such). Thanks to countless housing developments that have sprung up over the past decade, it’s even less in the middle of nowhere than it was when I grew up. But there used to be woods, and the deer that lived in those woods are finding themselves with fewer and fewer places to roam. So, they come to visit our homes. Over the past week, there has been a deer in the backyard 3 times.
Yesterday evening as I took a walk, I came face to face with what was probably the cause of the mysterious noises from a previous walk. A deer was positioned 10 feet from the sidewalk, just standing there. Just staring. You know, just hanging out.
“Hey deer,” I said in my head. I didn’t want to say it out loud and risk startling him, causing him to either dart out into the street and oncoming traffic or charge at me. Both options would have been bad. So I just sauntered on, keeping my eyes on him at all times and yet trying not to stare too intently. Again, not to freak him out.
I don’t know that much about deer; I have no idea what their scare threshold is. Judging by how the deer simply jumped slightly back toward the woods as I walked by, I’m going to assume it’s gotten much higher over the years. Probably, 20 years ago, a human so close to his territory would have triggered some sort of defense mechanism. Now, we practically share the same space. No big deal.
While I like being able to get so close to wild animals with no consequence, at the same time, it’s sad to realize these animals are so familiar with us they barely flinch when we approach.
Or it could just be me. On that same walk I passed by a rabbit and a skunk, and neither bothered to even glance my way. So maybe there’s just something about me that says, “Don’t bother getting out of the way; this girl is no threat, unless of course you’re close enough to her that she could trip over you. In which case, you’re going to want to scoot back a bit, because she will definitely trip.”