While at home last weekend for a friend's father's memorial service, I was once again reminded of the rich and ravenous bounty of nature that brazenly parades itself through my mother's yard.
Since moving into the humble house on Guyer Road back in 1980, my mom and I have seen all manner of critters and once they figured out we had no intention of eating them they did everything short of walking up to the back porch window and asking what was on HBO that night. I've personally seen raccoons, possums, huge groundhogs, a fox who decimated our blackberry bush, roving bands of Tom turkeys (the Thanksgiving variety), wild turkeys (the speedy, long-tailed variety), even a coyote or two, but no species dominates the backyard Wild Kingdom like the nomadic troops of foraging deer. Driven out of their deep-woods seclusion by the endless development of Connecticut housing and roadways, the deer have nowhere to go and are now found in plain sight all over the fucking place, and the poor bastards are famished. Seriously, those goddamned deer will eat just about anything that isn't bolted to the ground and encased in cement, and my mom, who used to love planting flowers and took pride in maintaining a lovely garden, finally gave up bothering years ago after the deer, usually in groups of three, devoured her tulips almost before they had a chance to bloom. Take it from me that a neurotic, menopausal black woman is dangerous enough, but but fuck with her flowers and you will see a fury unleashed that hasn't been experienced since the days of Greek mythology. The fact that my mom's garage isn't a perpetually-stocked curing shed for deer jerky is a bit of a shock to most who know her, but not to me because I just can't picture her tolerating the necessary cleaup after disemboweling one of the timid woodland creatures through its anus, no matter how much they may piss her off.
So there we were, bushed after the memorial service and occupying our usual places of repose in the downstairs family room, my mom drifting off into a nap while I watched MSNBC, when I noticed a flicker of movement just outside one of the windows that saw out onto the back yard. I got up from my chair, camera at the ready, and spotted the expected trio of grazing deer busily chowing down on all available leafy sustenance.
Pardon the shoddiness of the photography, but I had to shoot this minus flash through a window pane and my subject was in constant motion. I snapped a few more, but only one more image came out even remotely legible, but at least it was of a young stag looking directly at me and remembering I'm one of the resident pussies who wouldn't be planting a hunting knife into his skull, therefore immediately returning to his repast.
Roused by my moving from window to window in an effort to take a decent picture, my mother asked me what the deer were doing. I told her that they were up to the usual and that one of them was merrily feasting upon one of her beloved hedges. "What???" she screamed as she launched her seventy-five year old self from the comfort of the couch. "Those little bastards! Shoo them away, for Christ's sake!!!" At that I tapped loudly on the window, startling the Disneyesque trio and sending them bounding over the pitiful stone wall on the border of our back yard, through the meager swamp just past it and out toward the unforgiving lanes of I-95.
I'm telling you, one of these days, hunting season or not, I would love to get me a compound bow, perch atop my mom's house and take out one of those deer, Ted Nugent style. I'd skin and gut it, drink a coffee mug full of its blood by way of respect, and set about properly dressing it out and prepping its meat. Ah, the lovely thought of returning primal food-gathering to the suburbs...