Two deer ambled across the road in the dim morning light. I eased off the gas, slowing as another scrambled up the bank and across. In an instant, they had entered the line of trees and disappeared. Here then gone.
Looking both ways carefully, wary of stragglers, I slowly sped up and resumed my commute to school. Smiling now. Thankful for the moment.
Good luck, I thought, mentally sending the deer wishes for safe passage across country roads and through this year’s hunting season. God speed!
Driving along, I replayed the moment in my mind. The graceful movements, overlarge ears and tawny pelts. The swish of white tails. Seeing deer always brings me such joy.
Maybe I’ll write a haiku.
I entertained myself with phrases and syllable counts until I pulled into the school parking lot. Then, as I entered the classroom, the deer faded from mind amidst the reality of towering stacks and endless to-do lists.
About two hours later, my students arrived. L. approached me with a huge grin on his face.
“Mrs. Hogan! Guess what I did!?” he asked, his excitement palpable.
I set down my clipboard to give him my full attention. “What?” I asked.
“I ate a deer heart last night!” he crowed.
Insert a long pause here.
“Um. Oh.” I stammered. Another long pause. He looked at me expectantly.
Finally, I spoke. “Why?” (Yes, not my finest response, but I was flummoxed and genuinely horrified. And also, really, Why??? As a vegetarian, I don’t appreciate meat eating, but heart eating seems like another level entirely–even more invasive and primitive. Yeah, I know that may not really make sense…)
“Huh?” he looked back at me, clearly uncertain how to answer. His smile faltered.
I regrouped and tried to manage my expression.
“Well, how did you cook it?” Ew!
“Oh, I think my dad just threw it in the oven,” he responded.
“Was it good?” I asked, really wishing I weren’t having this conversation.
“Yeah! It was delicious!” he replied, smile firmly entrenched again. He then bounded off to start his day.
I picked up my clipboard and shook my head.
I wish I’d taken the time to write that haiku.