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.