It’s the first day of gun season, and Husband’s alarm sounds at an early hour. He is up and out the door quickly to drive to the next county to hunt on his dad’s property.
I sigh and roll out of bed, too.
In the distance, I hear a gun shot.
My running partner is out of town, and I’m not sure I want to brave the first cold weather of the season without her. At the same time, I don’t want to be a wimp.
I pull on my running tights, my sweatshirt, my shoes, my gloves, and my ear warmers, and I hit the road. The sunrise is at my right shoulder, and diamonds sparkle in the frosty grass.
I inhale the cold air and watch the breath clouds form in front of my face. Up the road, past the fancy newer houses, toward the older farm homes. I glance over toward the sun, and there he is.
A buck, just lying in someone’s yard.
Not dead, but very much alive.
Not hiding from a marksman’s eye.
Not poised, ready to spring away at the slightest sound.
Just lying on the ground, legs tucked under him, enjoying the scenery.
I slow down, and we watch each other as I jog past. Then I stop, cross the road for a closer look, and still he lies there, his two small antlers pointing toward each other.
Is he injured? I wonder. Why does my presence not spook him? I see no signs of distress, no wounds. He is bright-eyed and alert.
A sneaky little sucker, I decide. If he’s in someone’s yard, he’s far less likely to be shot. If he’s out of the woods, then… well, he may think he’s out of the woods.
It’s the only time I’ve witnessed the convergence of the literal and figurative meanings of an idiom.
Finally, he stands, but makes no move toward the trees.
Deer also seem to have marked hunting season on their calendars.
I leave the wily buck and continue my run. Over the next few miles, I hear more gunshots.
Husband isn’t the only one scoping out dinner.
May it be a worthy contest between the hunter and the deer.