An Artless Day

I don’t know how to express what I want to say about seeing a deer, its back legs broken by a car, struggle across four lanes and a fenced median strip while we were on our way to see our daughter’s dance at college.

Two young women, in separate cars, who saw the deer hit by a man who did not stop were helping her get out of extremely intense traffic. The one who crossed the road with the deer – a pregnant doe – told of several men who tried to film the deer’s struggle with their cameras to post on YouTube. The young women had called 911. We called again, several times. I found our exact location on my iPhone and called it in. Paula and I and the young woman – I never got her name – stood where the deer had gone into the brush. The young woman had to leave, we reassured her we would stay. We stood for an hour as cars, trucks and buses raced by. Only one other person stopped to see if we needed help. Another woman.

When the police finally came, he was extremely nice and honored our watch and thanked us. He went up the hill and into the woods, he reassured us he saw the deer and he would shoot her. We heard the shot. Several minutes later another shot and the man came down, thanked us again, said the deer was in a better place.

During the hour we waited I reflected a bit on the men in my life. How so many men I love have told me they don’t have men friends, they don’t connect with them. They have women friends, they talk to women, go on walks, eat meals with women. I think I got it. I would not be interested in someone filming this horrific sight. I would not want to be with someone who couldn’t share wanting to put this right. And in this case it did mean killing. There was no other choice, it was the humane act of the moment.

I’m sure that the many thousand people who passed us in that hour or more were not all heartless men. I am sure that most people do not know what to do. They do not want to feel the intolerable feelings we carried with us as we five women watched and waited for help to come. I don’t blame them but I wish there was more courage.

I wish mothers of boys could teach them vulnerability. I wish fathers could hold their growing young sons in an embrace of new born love their whole lives. I wish teachers could touch students, I wish touch was sacred. I wish courage was more ordinary.

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