Oh Deer!

Last week, we met to discuss our next One Book, Two Schools adventures. We’re going to read Katherine Applegate’s Wishtree as a school community. A group of us met to discuss plans for keeping the reading alive over the few weeks we will be reading the book. Peter, aka Humbleswede, suggested we have kids and families adopt a tree and invite them to notice the community that lives within. If you haven’t read Wishtree, the main character is a tree and many of the characters are those who live within and around the tree.

Since Peter mentioned this, I’ve been keeping an eye on our backyard with a different lens. Who are these creatures? The birds, squirrels, and occasional bunny. How do they connect?

This morning, I was up before my kids and savoring the quiet moments before they awoke…not as mindfully as fellow Slicer, Amanda Potts (read her post Awake here). Suddenly, the silence was cracked by screams from upstairs. “Get away from me!” my oldest daughter Wren screamed again and again.

What could they be fighting about already? I wondered. “What’s going on?” I called up to them.

“There are two deer in the backyard!” Adi called excitedly as I heard her footsteps approaching.

“So, she decided to jump on my bed,” Wren added on, following behind Adi.

Then, we were all, the whole family except Rose who managed to sleep through the chaos, standing at the backdoor, gazing at two deer happily chomping away at the bushes in our backyard. Our yard is fenced in and we don’t usually see deer in our yard. “They must have come in at that end,” Arnauld pointed, “where the fence is sagging.”

For a moment, we all say watching these creatures. But, as I watched I imagined my hostas, still safe underground, and our future vegetable garden getting munched on by deer. I opened the door and began talking to the deer. “Go home!” I called. The deer looked up at me. “Go ahead,” I coached. They looked confused and tried to leave through the chicken wire fence lining the back of our yard. “Go back the way you came,” I encouraged.

One of the deer seemed to tiptoe across the yard, sneaking by us, back towards the place they entered. The other deer followed, but instead of leaping back over, they just stood there. Eventually, one of the deer went back to eating the bushes.

“They’re stuck,” I said. “They won’t know how to get out now. Maybe I should go open the gate for them.” So I slid on my shoes and headed out the front door to open the gate.

As I opened the gate, I yelled to the deer, “Here you go! You can exit this way please!”

The deer turned towards me and then swiftly leapt over the fence, disappearing into the woods.

While it was exciting to see the deer up close and personal this morning, I’m hoping they don’t make themselves a regular part of our backyard habitat.

10 thoughts on “Oh Deer!

  1. Your quiet morning broken by screams — what. a way to start a Sunday! I can hear you talking to those deer so kindly, so politely! If this had happened in my yard, I’d say my Dad came for a visit — but that’s a maybe slice for another day! Here’s to seeing all that this world has to offer — even if it startles you into a day!


  2. I love the way this moves from quiet to screaming (why? why do they have to scream? and how does one always sleep through?) to you politely asking the deer to exit through the gate. It’s all so… well, so perfect. Each moment is its very own little universe & connected together they are family life. Here’s hoping your hosta survive the summer.


  3. We see deer all the time and are always so fascinated watching them. I’d love to hear the deer’s perspective on how this went down!


  4. Yes, the deer are a dilemma. I love watching them in our yard, but wish they wouldn’t be there so regularly. They leave behind things that Farley seems to think are milk duds. We’ve tried to convince him otherwise. Not a healthy snack!


  5. Your meditation broken by childhood screams and the deer. Get that fence back up. They will be back. It amazes me how determined they are to decimate our plants. In the wild, deer thrive on acorns , but here they devour hostas and hydrangeas. I should be more sympathetic I suppose. Good luck keeping them from your veggies.


  6. I love deer, they’re so graceful and elegant … yet destructive. The other morning my husband was walking on our street just as it was getting light and he saw a doe with three – three! – fawns. What I would have given to see this! So amused by your offering the gate and the deer saying ok, right – because they can nearly fly over a fence.


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