December 8: Young Buck

young-buck-deer-nub-horns-black-eyes-wet-nose-brown-white-fur-58792408Mark’s best friends, Andy and Jess, came by to visit last night with their mom, bringing homemade fudge and much-needed laughter. What’s great about them, and about James, and about Steven, and about all of Mark’s friends, is that ALL of their memories of Mark are good. They remember him with smiles.

At some point, the talk turned to odd electrical things happening at their home over the past few months – their Apple TV hadn’t worked for months, but now works fitfully…and only shows pictures of Mark. A bell in the garage that never rang before – installed by a previous homeowner to tie into the phone line inside the house – is now ringing. We like to giggle and say Mark’s been busy…he was studying to be an engineer after all.

I decided, since we were sharing stories, to tell them about the experience I had with the deer, at the lake. As I related the details, I noticed Andy and Jessica kept glancing at each other. I thought they’d decided I’d completely lost it. I imagined their sudden decision to leave. “Well – gotta go!” Slam. Maybe I was wrong to say anything.

I trailed off in embarrassment as I finished my story, and after a few moments, Jess said to her brother, “You might as well tell her.” Andy nodded, took a deep breath, and said, “I had a weird encounter with a deer, too. The part that got me was when you said ‘young buck.’ Mine was a young buck, too.”

In the same general time frame as my encounter with the deer (in late October), Andy had gone on a bike ride. He was on this side of the lake (whereas my encounter was on the far side), biking along the path, and after a certain turn, there was the deer…a young buck, standing on the side of the path.

Andy stopped his bike. Most deer would have already beat it – a flick of the tail and gone. But he and this deer just looked at each other for a while…for a really long time, in fact. Andy is a funny guy – he said “it got awkward, after a while.” He decided to move on, but was just amazed by the deer’s lack of fear or concern. As he remounted his bike and began pedaling away, he was surprised to find the deer going with him. It continued to trot along with Andy for some distance, until the path turned inland. At that point the deer continued more toward the lake again, into the brush.

I had been worrying about the deer for weeks. Had he made it across? Was he safe? There’s a lot of thick mud just under the lake’s surface – I was so afraid he’d drowned, all because I led him to “freedom.” Instead, here was Andy saying the deer was alive and well – it had to be the same one! – that he’d made it across the lake, and had even walked with him for a while.

I am completely blown away.

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