Take the time; stop to look at the deer

Published 8:12 pm Saturday, December 6, 2008

On Monday night I was driving to my second Northampton County board meeting of the day when a humorous fact occurred to me.

I was on a back road a friend had showed me to make my 40-minute journey between Ahoskie and Jackson a little easier.

It was the perfect night for a drive; there was no fog; the sky was clear, letting the moon illuminate the dark road. And since it was December 1, the planets Venus and Jupiter shone in all their glory positioned near the moon.

It was too late in my drive to change the route when I realized I shouldn’t be driving on that road since deer season is in full swing and this particular route has a lot of woods and open fields. Now that I think of it the alternate route has the same conditions.

As I followed the few curves in the road lined by thick woods I slowed down. I had already seen first hand what kind of damage a raccoon could do to my car, I didn’t even want to think about what it would look like after deer ran into it.

Just after the wooded area, the sides of the road opened into a large field and that’s when I began to see blue, green reflections on the animals’ eyes.

A herd (a mob) of deer stood to the left of the road happily grazing and paying no mind to my car.

I slowed down once again, heeding caution. Noting the amount of deer in the field, it seemed the hunters in the area must be having a bout of bad luck.

While passing the deer, I realized I was really late to my meeting and wrote them off as another distraction.

Then it hit me: I actually use to enjoy nature.

Oh yes, I use to be one of those girls that would take hikes, go fishing and watch the sun go down.

When I was a little girl my favorite pastime was collecting bugs. Glass jars filled with all sorts of bugs would show up in my mom’s house on a kitchen counter here, a table there or even a window sill.

I wasn’t afraid of touching any slimy creature. My mom only encouraged my oddball pastime when she bought me a bug house, a virtual prison for my tiny bug hostages.

The base of it was made out of wood and the middle was wrapped in screen wire to keep any insects from escaping.

My bug house was my constant companion everywhere as I found ladybugs, beetles and butterflies.

Then the contraption met its match when I found a large toad. I some how managed to stuff the toad through the small opening in the bug house only meant for minute creatures.

Needless to say, he went into the house easily, but an uncle of mine had a tough time getting the cumbersome reptile out.

Yes, there used to be a time when the woods were my haven and I loved to sit outside reading.

There was a time when my writings for my creative English classes were filled with descriptive country and nature scenes.

But then something changed. Some how I’ve forgot to stop and look around me. The respect for nature is still there, but I’ve lost sight of it even though it’s everywhere.

I’m thankful for the herd of deer I caught a glimpse of the other night.

As destructive as the animals can be (i.e. crops and motor vehicle accidents), it was a peaceful moment in nature observed by someone who needed it.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.