I return from the wilderness.
I left in flipflops and a t-shirt. I came home with a helmet of greasy hair and fish blood on my jeans. It was a satisfying sort of experience.
I have several stories I could share. There was the Tale Of The Fish Gutting where Taylor began to look a bit green as I struggled to tear out trout innards. There was the Trial Of Duck Lake, which involved roughly two hours of driving that ended in a fishless bee-laden swamp. I could even spend several posts talking about the North Eastern Oregon scenery, with its crackling pine needle carpet, rocky rivers, and vast mountains packed with straight backed trees that watch you like silent jurors.
But instead of all that I’m gonna talk about The Deer. I really don’t feel any need to give it an expansive title beyond The Deer. The Deer deserves capitalization, I think.
So it starts on the first night we were there. We had spent a long day fishing, unpacking, and generally settling in and Dad had finally decided to begin dinner. My father is a bit of a campsite connoisseur, and he won’t settle for cold cans of beans and peaches. He carried his materials to the next campsite over and seasoned chicken breasts with a steady hand. After he finished, he and Mom walked down to the river to fish while the fire reduced to suitable coals for grilling. Taylor and I stayed in the campsite. I was absorbed in a kitschy Cat Who murder mystery and Taylor was rather interested in poking the fire with a stick.
After fifteen minutes or so, a portly doe tip toed into the campsite. She regarded us calmly, and began snoofing the leaves around the tents, hunting for some hint of salt. Taylor and I watched her appreciatively. Such noble form! Such wild grace! She was a thing of terrestrial beauty.
You all know what’s coming.
The doe circled our campsite and, finding nothing of interest, sauntered over towards the next one over. She raised her head slowly, her nostrils undulating. Something had caught her attention. She began stalking through the bushes with a purpose. Taylor and I watched her, fascinated. She began approaching the table. The table laden with chicken.
Sudden realization hit both Taylor and I and we rose at once, taking a single, epic lunge towards the doe. She gave us an unamused look, that clearly said,
“Fuck you. I’m a deer.”
And pulled the chicken off the table and into the dirt.
Taylor deflated, his fire poking stick dangling in his hands. I darted forward, shouting, “HEY HEY HEY” in my loudest, gratingest man-voice. The doe regarded me with mild disdain and grabbed a chicken breast, slurping it down like a duck with a fish. Taylor recovered himself and brandished his fire-stick menacingly. The deer sauntered away.
Like true mountain-folk, we washed off the chicken and ate it anyway.
After that, deer seemed significantly less like a charming symbol of the wilderness in which we were guests, and more like a pain in the ass. We treated it accordingly when it returned, sixteen more times.