Obviously, seeing a deer in these parts isn’t unusual.
But now and then, it’s possible to see an unusual deer. For example, a particular young doe that frequently hangs out on the property high above the Big Piney River where my wife, Wendy, and I live.
She’s an odd sort of deer. She spends hours wandering alone from here to there with no apparent goal or agenda. She does, however, often take time to sample one or two of the large variety of plants that grow prolifically in the open spaces in and around the dense forest that covers most of the area on and around the property.
She’s not at all skittish and seems to have no fear of humans (or anything else, for that matter). Quite to the contrary; you can almost walk right up to her before she walks away (she never really runs away), and if she’s near the long gravel driveway when a car goes by, she looks up and takes notice but isn’t prone to fleeing, like most deer would.
Instead, she just stands there seemingly in full realization that the passing machine represents no danger. Then she goes back to eating or wandering.
We wonder why she’s such a loner. Is she for some reason an outcast? Did she make the neighborhood’s alpha male mad and get banned from the group?
Do her ears look wrong, does her breath stink, or did she say something bad about Bambi or his father, The Great Prince of the Forest?
Not that it matters, because she seems to enjoy her solitude. She’s obviously healthy and doesn’t appear to be sad or lonely.
She’s just this young doe who seems to have her own way of living. For the record, we know she’s young because she still had her fawn spots until a couple of months ago, even though she was far larger than an actual fawn.
She even seems to have an agreement with our dogs Gertie (the Permapup) and Scotty (the Scottie). They don’t chase her like they would your average deer.
Normally, if they notice any deer in the immediate vicinity, they’ll take off toward the intruders like a couple of crazed greyhounds, and then march back to the house with their heads held high like a pair of triumphant Spartan soldiers. But with this doe, they’re like, “oh, it’s just her.”
I kind of figure she’ll move on at some point. I don’t know why or where, but I expect she’ll find some reason to explore more territory on her own, and maybe even find a friend or two to hang out with.
And actually, I hope that happens for her.
I’m reminded of a quote from the 2007 movie “Into the Wild,” where the main character, Christopher McCandless, realizes his quest to escape humanity and find peace of mind in the Alaskan wilderness is in vain and that he actually misses interaction with members of his species.
In a note found after his death, he says, “Happiness is only real when shared.”
May you all have someone with whom you can share your happiness. And may our odd little doe have that, too.
Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald.