Friday, December 02, 2005


Living so close to a highway underpass gives me a slight ogre-ish feeling -- as if I should threaten passing cars that I will eat them unless they can provide a better offer. But, for the most part, my murky residence is rescued by the large amounts of greenery planted nearby. On the drive to work this morning, I stopped at a short-tempered traffic light that sits below 395, about 1 minute from my apartment. While I waited for the light to turn, two does stared quizzically at my car from across the street. They were trapped behind a large chain link fence that separates the ogres from the autos

Now, I'm used to seeing deer when I leave my doorstep -- back in PA it was a regular occurrence. But seeing two wide-eyed deer staring at me from the sliver of grass running alongside the highway was altogether confusing. I watched them, and they watched me, unblinking, until I turned the corner and began to accelerate up the hill. A small part of my drive runs parallel to 395, so I traced the path these deer must have taken to arrive at that dead-end, fenced in corner.

Unless they had pulled a Rudolph across the road, they must have trekked miles of narrow highway corridor just to reach the fence where we met. I suppose that's the look the doe was giving me this morning -- "We traveled all this way and this is it?"

I can't blame them for being disappointed...if I had traveled that distance, I would hope for a better reward than empty, littered bags of cheetos and the rumble of an idling semi. I wanted to call out to the deer and let ask them, "Don't you feel suffocated here, stuck in the confines of the fencing? Where I come from, there is more space for you to grow!"

But the deer would shake their heads and turn back to the highway. One would eventually be hit by a speeding Volkswagon, causing a multiple car pile-up. But the other -- the other would run free -- sprinting north along the highway until it crossed the Pennsylvania line. There it would meet up with other deer, eventually settling in with a 7-point buck and giving birth to a beautiful young fawn. Together, they would run late at night across the gravel of a long, stone driveway.

Sometimes, when you restrict yourself to a narrow path, a dead end can be its own reward.

Just be careful when you turn around -- Volkswagon drivers are total assholes.


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