Friday, June 18, 2010

Late at night I saw two deer while biking



Saw two deer again tonight at Silver Sands Park. Perhaps the same two as last time. They appeared more as vague blurs, painted a spectral blue-greenish haze from the dim light cast by my drained-battery bike lamp. If I hadn't seen them in the spot a week or so back, I might not have have recognized them, plowed right into one. Not ten feet before me they appeared more like smudges, two mushed fingerprints, than large beasts, but I recognized them, and I squeezed the brakes, and the rubber brake pads squealed against my steel rims. They must have been transfixed. What did I look like to them?

While I was blinded by darkness, everything smeared to a pixelated mess in the orangey light from quite distant streetlamps (perhaps even some from a passing tanker or spinning lighthouse), were they blinded by the pinprick of blue LED at my handlebars? I don't know. But the breaks' sound made them move fast. Their hooves clacked, but not really. Some other sound, animal protein against asphalt. One, two, three, and a few more, falling more rapidly with each step. And they moved past my lamp's beam, their forms dispersing in the vague darkness like iodine drops in black tea. For a moment, I felt somehow affected, and the hill began to rise before me. I pulled up on the handlebars and pushed down on the peddles. A frog croaked in some invisible pool. And my heart shuddered in a weird way. It was something like fear or sadness. Maybe it was that old unknown. I imagined blurry coyotes bounding from the briers. I wondered if the deer remembered me from last time. Back on the main road, gliding downhill past houses, television blue windows, a man drinking beer in his garage, something struck me.

I imagined a mosquito bite hidden beneath fur, on the flesh of a deer. Thought how the bugs that had drunk from my warm body drank from theirs as well. And I wondered if we were both drawn to that place and time for similar reasons. The lack of people, the silent sounds, the distant light of stars and barges, and the cool night wind and atmosphere unlike the daytime hours. I could not harm those deer, and they would not harm me, but we are forever separate. Related only distantly, and though we may share similarities, or pasts diverged in archaic times. Our paths cannot be reconciled, but only cross from time to time as we bumble alone in the darkness, each of us more relaxed, less worried, away from daylight’s predacious people in the dark cool hours of night.