My husband and I are both trying to lose weight and get healthier, and so we have been walking more. And that has been difficult (for me anyway) as it has been terribly hot and humid in this part of the southeast this summer. We have had almost 6 straight weeks of temperatures in the 90s with many days reaching 100 degrees and over and heat indexes of 105-110. I am a fall/winter person and I am the first to admit that I don’t do well in heat and humidity. I loathe it. But this Labor Day weekend has found us having some beautiful, cooler and most importantly, non-humid weather. And I am loving it.
So yesterday the hubby and I decided to go take our walk in a local park. It is a beautiful park with a paved walkway that winds through the woods and loops around a picturesque little lake. No motor boats are allowed on this lake, but people are often seen on the lake canoeing and kayaking and fishing. I love this park because I always see wildlife of some kind when I am there. Whether it be white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, or turtles basking in the sun, I never leave there without having spotted wildlife of some kind.
I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I had the pleasure of working in the petting zoo at Opryland Theme park when I was a teenager. In this zoo, there was a separate deer petting farm. All of these deer had been bottle fed by humans and conditioned to human touch. The animal keepers took turns selling deer food to the guests in the park (sweet grain in an ice cream cone) for 25¢. Our job was also to reprimand guests who felt the need to occasionally abuse the deer. On more than one occasion, I found myself literally pole vaulting over the deer food booth I sat in when selling food, to reprimand a guest who would be trying to physically break a buck’s antlers right off its head (to take home for a souvenir they would always say). I also on several occasions would catch parents setting their babies or small children on the deer’s backs for a ride, or people who thought it was funny to feed cigarettes to the deer. While these occasions made my blood pressure soar and left me shaking my head, fortunately they were rare incidents. Most of the time, I just sat in my booth where I would marvel at the calmness and peace that would come over people as they stood back and watched the deer or the awe in their faces when they would stand and pet a doe or a buck. It mesmerized me and I loved it.
We have some sparse woods in the neighborhood we live in. We have white-tailed deer visit almost every day. One time there were 6 does in our backyard. Recently, there has been a doe and her triplet fawns who visit us every morning between 6:30 and 7 am. We have spotted the fawns frolicking, leaping and playing in the backyard. They usually come when I am up preparing breakfast for my teenager on school days and I always stop what I am doing and watch them. Sometimes when there are deer around, our neighbors will call and tell us to look out the window, or we will call them to tell them to look out their front or back door. And yes, we are known to grab our cameras, step out on the patio and start snapping pictures. Just what exactly is it about a deer sighting that excites us humans so? I find myself asking that question every time. It’s the beauty. It’s the peace. It’s their gracefulness. It’s the calmness they instill in us. It’s the excitement of capturing that one perfect photo of such an elusive creature. Yes…. I think it’s all of those things.