Monday, December 8, 2008

The Secret Life of Lawns, Part Two

No one saw it but us.

A bright, relatively warm December morning, and the little clowncars were "helping" me hang Christmas lights while Hucky made preparations for the upcoming trip to chez Dancehall. There was nobody else outside. It's tempting to draw out the obvious moral that no one leaves their houses anymore, except to get in their car and drive somewhere, but I don't actually know that to be true. Only that it's true where I live.

Anyway. Me, the girls, the Christmas lights. A deer came trotting from out of the parking lot of the little community college that anchors one end of our block, then made its way across the trio of perfectly manicured lawns across the street, effortlessly silent. I shushed the kids and pointed.

"A reindeer!" exclaimed my oldest, but it wasn't, of course. It was a regular deer, a young buck, near fully grown, sporting small proud antlers. I called for my wife, it stopped at the noise. It relaxed, began to sniff around the lawn at its feet.

A dog from the back yard barked.

Then, in a moment so perfect it seemed scripted for the season, it began to bound away, all four legs pumping in unison so that it bounced improbably high in the air with each effort, looking as if it could fly (and I'm sure the girls were expectant that it would). It made its way quickly back up the block, paused briefly to sniff at the cars in the parking lot of the college, then disappeared around the corner.

I don't have an end to the story. This is a fairly small town, so it could have taken a route through the golf course or the park and have only one busy road between it and unincorporated land. And freedom. I hope he made it.

I told a couple neighbors about. They were polite but incurious, uninterested. Hurried back inside their houses, closed and locked their doors.

Fine with me. They're old and retired, and when I'm old and retired I'll probably be the same way. As it is, I'm often too self-absorbed to pay full attention to the world around me. It is easy to lose focus.

There is everyday magic outside the walls that surround us, waiting for notice. It's important to keep your doors open. It's important to step outside.

10 comments:

Irrelephant said...

Beautiful. *s* I doubt you'll be like that when you're old--you've still got that sense of wonder in you now, a sense of reverence. It's not gonna go away with age.

Vulgar Wizard and I were out trainspotting one morning early last year in fall--a nip in the air but leaves still on the tree. I turned just in time to watch three beautiful does step daintily out of the woods on one side of the track and make their unhurried, graceful way across the steel blight and back into the green boughs.

It made the whole day worthwhile.

Eric Shonkwiler said...

Agreed, friendo.

You and I often wonder at the same things. I consider the sky proof of a higher power. Maybe we wonder into different conclusions.

Daisy said...

Every year we make and give out Reindeer Food (you know, cuz if Santa gets cookies....)

The recipe: oatmeal, glitter -- put in cellophane bag and tie with ribbon.

Voila.

Hilary said...

I so totally agree with you. The camera is my excuse to get out there. It's amazing what beauty you find just beyond your doorsteps. Thanks for expressing that so beautifully. And the deer is something your children will never forget.. unlike the score on a computer game.

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

amigo--I have a couple of nice vases or maybe a pitcher?
email me garyrith at yahoo dot com
:)

Victoria Gothic said...

I really love the phrase, "the little clowncars were 'helping' me in so many ways. First, "the little clowncars" is quite possibly one of the most amusing things I've heard in quite some time, and second is the "helping" element. Those days have a kind of nostalgia to them, the days when "helping" was usually more of a hindrance but is was condoned as a building exercise and bonding experience. And I totally agree about everyday magic. I love observing the everyday. Sometimes its as simple as walking outside and looking up at moon, an action that always reminds me of you doing the same with your kids because of your obsession with all things floating in the night sky. Another thing that really makes me look at the little things in life happened just yesterday. I went to have a smoke with a friend of mine and some friend of his I had never met. He was a really cool guy. It was good to just meet someone, and recognize suddenly that others are really as complex internally as you are. It was an interesting moment, but one I treasure nonetheless.

Victoria Gothic said...

I really love the phrase, "the little clowncars were 'helping' me in so many ways. First, "the little clowncars" is quite possibly one of the most amusing things I've heard in quite some time, and second is the "helping" element. Those days have a kind of nostalgia to them, the days when "helping" was usually more of a hindrance but is was condoned as a building exercise and bonding experience. And I totally agree about everyday magic. I love observing the everyday. Sometimes its as simple as walking outside and looking up at moon, an action that always reminds me of you doing the same with your kids because of your obsession with all things floating in the night sky. Another thing that really makes me look at the little things in life happened just yesterday. I went to have a smoke with a friend of mine and some friend of his I had never met. He was a really cool guy. It was good to just meet someone, and recognize suddenly that others are really as complex internally as you are. It was an interesting moment, but one I treasure nonetheless.

Nancy Dancehall said...

And I loved watching you tell that story last weekend. *s* i wonder if we'll see him this weekend.

Still in the land of migraine...

Clowncar said...

Yeah Irr, but when I'm old my sense of wonder will, I'm guessing, do battle with my sense of laziness. The sight of deer never loses it's magic, does it?

E, it's a hard idea to explain well, but the idea that the universe organizes itself is more thrilling to me than the idea that a higher power organizes it for me.

Hey Daze - we do that too! Nothing as whimsical as glitter and oatmeal - we give em catfood.

Hill, it's useful to have a lure to get you out there - cameras, telescopes, nature, sports. The lure itself is secondary, isn't it?

I'll email, Gary. Thanks for the prompt response!

Vic, I think most people are probably more complex than they first appear. Like your smokey friend. You gotta assume the complexity is there, and respect it.

Sorry about the headache, Nance. I hear it can be cured with liberal doses of homemade white chile, though. :)

Gordo said...

We've only had a deer once in the neighbourhood since we've been here, but we're also quite a distance inside the 'burbs. My eldest was out walking the dog and he saw a doe walking in the park. When she spotted him and the big goofy golden retriever, she beelined away from them and over the neighbour's fence into their back yard. He came tearing back into the house, out of breath and bursting with the news. She was gone when I got outside to see.

They are a magical sight, to be sure.