Friday, August 12, 2011

They're Deer, Effie

About two miles from my house, a person can start running on trails. Nice dirt trails through park and trees and grass that twist around in a multitude of combinations and somehow might dump one out on rocks or the river. The American River. It's not the wilderness or anything, but it makes for a nice run. So I run there.
And I was running there. I was checking out a new…ish-to-me area. I had run there once before. I always knew of the place, but didn't really realize there were trails there I could access. It's an interesting place. It has an interesting name. Effie Yeaw Nature Center, or something like that. I don't know how to pronounce it and I didn't know I could run there, until one day I did. From the back door. I was out on a long run, about 5 miles in, and I was running on trails I'd not been on. It was nearing dusk, and I was astounded by the number of animals out. I mean, they were nothing that unusual, specie-wise or anything—it was just the number. I easily saw twenty deer, I'd say. Deer that didn't know people could or would hurt them, so they just looked at me. They looked at me up close as I ran by, expecting them to run away. But they didn't. They stood there. It was odd. And all the wild turkeys. Twenty of them, too? Easily. It was an unexpected brush with overabundant nature only two miles from my house, and I ran back toward my house, and I came out of Effie Yeaw Nature Center (or whatever it is) and it all suddenly clicked. I ran home a way I have now done several times before. I told Angie and our houseguests about the startlingly large population of deer and turkeys I saw. I ran a little over 7 miles.
That narrative drifted, but it's no less relevant.
I was running there. It was New Year's Eve, and I was running there, and it was about 4:30, which made it pretty much dusk. I wanted to see all the deer and the turkeys and see that it wasn't all just a fluke, which I knew it couldn't have been. Maybe they feed them. You sure can't hunt them. You could catch a turkey with your bare hands. YOU could.
So I ran to the trail in a slightly better way (more trail) and ran in through the front of Effie Yeaw. (I say it "yee-aw," but try hard to run the syllables together. More like "yaw." I probably don't say it right.) I ran on a trail back toward the river and it was great. The river is alive right now because the rains fall and new bright green, soft looking grasses grow and it's beautiful. Flowers will come, too, but it's too early. The grasses will die too early.
I was running along a trail and I was looking down at the rocks that might twist my ankles. I saw a deer standing near the trail ahead of me and it was just looking at me. It was about five feet off the trail, but twenty feet in front of me. I started walking, but it wasn't moving. I stopped. I looked around. I've never seen so many deer.
While looking down, I'd run into the center of a whole bunch of deer. Ten? Twenty? There were a lot of them. Some were standing up. Some were laying down. Then I saw others laying down, because they're kinda hard to spot when they're laying down. And they were looking at me. All of them were looking at me. There were males and females. I counted seven points on a buck. There was one bigger than that, but it was behind a tree. One was walking away and limping, but it wasn't walking away from me—it was just walking. Limping. They were looking at me. There were babies. I looked and called them small medium and large, which to me meant there were babies. Deer aren't scary animals at all, until that moment when they are.
I was stopped on the trail.
They're deer.
I walked forward. Still no movement. I clapped. Nothing. I felt really weird about all this, and there were turkeys in the distance, but they weren't likely to help. Did I need help?
They're deer.
Yeah, well, they're scary deer. There are babies and the big ones are staring at me and they're not scared of me or moving and there's a baby over there and big ones there and am I between any two of them SHIT yes I am—
Do deer attack?
Surely this has been covered on Fox but I missed it and I'm really starting to think that if I keep running I'm gonna get my ass kicked by deer, so I stand there. I look around again, and I start walking back in the other direction. There were so many deer. There were so many turkeys. I started jogging again, and I ran out of the…herd? of deer. There were more deer, and I ran by them way too closely, but I wasn't surrounded, and there weren't babies, and they didn't pay much attention to me and I didn't feel threatened. I like deer. They're animals and such. I don't mind them being hunted—I've eaten some venison, but I wouldn't kill them for it. There are so many deer, though. I never thought they would freak me out. Seriously.
I should blog about this.
Author's Note: It turns out, deer DO attack, but they didn't attack me.

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