I still can’t drive 55.
One of MON TIKI’s carpenters was a ruined internet millionaire/rock-n-roll singer and guitar player with a difficult relationship with his children’s mother. One day he came to work with a small grey rabbit in a wire cage, an impulse acquisition his daughter had grown weary of. His plan was to let it go at the shop, which abutted a cemetery and some woodlands.
“If you’re to do that, you might as well kill it. If you’re not man enough to do it, I will,” I told him. Then I called my wife and asked/told her I was bringing home a pet rabbit.
When I came home from the shipyard today I saw the biggest pair of rabbit ears in our hedge I have ever seen — jackrabbit size!
Except they weren’t rabbit ears. They were the ears of one of the two fawns that have been calling our front yard home for the last few weeks. They were bedded down in the hedge with the dappled sunlight playing on their ears.
They are very cute. Tame enough they don’t run when we go to and from the car. Spotted, black noses and black eyes. Twitchy, alert ears.
I said to my wife, “Do you want to start feeding them? They’re young enough we could tame them?”
This is, of course, a terrible idea. (I’ve seen The Yearling.)
Later this afternoon my wife and I and our youngest were coming back from the store. It was dusk.
We were on Essex street near our house, which abuts some fields and wood-lots, and which my wife always makes a habit of driving slowly on because there are so many dear.
My wife cried out, and I looked up from my phone just in time to see a Jeep Cherokee in the opposite lane strike a spotted fawn.
The Cherokee hit the fawn with it’s bummer first, knocking it upward, then a split second later caught the fawn again with the forward edge of its hood, spinning the animal violently in the air. I reckon the Cherokee was going about 45mph at the moment of impact, 50% faster than the posted speed limit, and if the fawn was not killed instantly, it was certainly mortally wounded. (Readers my recall my early post citing the difference in pedestrian survival of car-strikes at 30mph vs. 40mph.)
Like the cat that I struck about a year ago, my first thought was that we should pull over and I should put the fawn out of its misery. But my wife has seen too much death in the last year, and our six year old daughter hadn’t seen any of the above transpire, so I said nothing. I swiveled my head and saw a matching fawn on a nearby lawn and thought the struck dear might be one of our twins.
We drove home, and by the time we got home I didn’t want to go back. I didn’t want to see the fawn’s wrecked little body.
When we got in the door my wife poured two glasses of wine and I told her I feared it might have been one of the twins. I wish I hadn’t; but these things weigh on you if you don’t tell someone, so I told her. Another glass was poured and drunk.
Just as I’m sitting here writing, my eldest has arrived home from ballet. My wife broke the sad news.
“Oh no. I just saw them sitting on the lawn!” said my daughter.
My wife slumped in relief. Once they lose their spots they’ll look like every other dear and we won’t have to worry so much.