Ramblings from My Attic #115
Leaves crunching under her hooves, she inched towards us a few steps at a time. At each pause she delicately lifted her stick thin front right leg, then stomp stomp stomp in quick succession. Her large brown mule ears bent forward straining for clues; the long nose twitched; her dark eyes never wavered from the exhausted Golden Retriever clutched by a crouched figure mostly obscured by panting red-gold dog.
Despite the racket Moe and I make crashing through the woods behind the school on our daily walk, we often catch sight of deer either petrified stock still at a distance or leaping frantically away. Never before had a doe approached us. As we stayed locked in this stare-down another doe and a younger deer continued to forage behind her, paying us little mind.
Thanks to the deer and the dog and the creeks and woods close to home, I don’t go stark raving mad. We are so tethered to our cell phones and computers and constant contact with family, friends and co-workers that reflection time barely exists. Electronic instant gratification now nibbles away at any remaining downtime in our lives. Not only is the average American family racing between jobs, school, sports, extracurricular activities, but they are constantly communicating changes in schedules to each other. I do it, my kids do it, and my friends do it. We are locked in a frenzy of activity.
Lying in a hammock in Panama, my eldest this summer learned for the first time in her 16 years to enjoy stretches of inactivity. “Mom,” she told me when she returned, “our lives are way too hectic.” She enjoyed the slower pace, the time to talk to and really get to know the families she lived with, shared meals with. Now as a high school junior, she’s juggling driver’s education, SAT prep, sports, a heavy course load and the college selection process. Not much hammock time in sight.
Even adolescent romance is on the impersonal fast-track of instant messaging. My 11 year old was thrilled to stumble upon the yellowing “love notes” I had passed to Ricky Katz in 7th grade French class. She giggled at our tender exchanges that included lines like “That comment you made was so dumb. Can I have your phone number? Love, Lori.” It’s especially funny to her, because she exchanges similar innocent sentiments on-line, all without pre-meditated thought or physical presence and to me, sadly impersonal. No daughter or grand-daughter of hers will have any tangible proof of her silliness.
I eased myself from a crouch to a sitting position behind Moe and waited to see how close the doe would come. She finally stopped about 12 feet away. If a buck had approached with stomping feet, I would have had the sense to vacate the premises, but she was simply conveying her boundaries and politely asking us to leave. Eventually, respectfully, Moe and I retreated and left the trio to themselves in the dappled wood.