Dark was just getting undone and the mountains coming into focus and I was grateful and reciting the reasons to myself not because I needed to be reminded but for the one-by-one pleasure of considering the people and circumstances and creation itself. Then, the dog acted up. Barking. Behind the house the two dogs from up the road had something. I went outside and chased them off. It was cold and I was in my pj’s. I came back inside.
As the light outside came up, I looked out the back window and could see the doe lying on the side of the hill, head up and ears spread. I hoped she might be standing and walking away unharmed after collecting herself. But no. She stood, and I saw her hind quarter ripped open.
She was likely hit by a car first, and then the dogs got her. Unsteadily, she walked around the side of the house. The herd came up the hill from the road and briefly absorbed her. Then, the doe stepped away from the group and came to the unfenced portion of the side yard near the fire pit and lay herself against the hill on a rock. The herd stood nearby for a time, but slowly deserted her as I frantically sought a number to call on a Sunday morning to put an animal out of misery. I need a gun.
As they must, the herd drifted away, walking uphill, one deer more reluctant than the rest to leave and standing at the yard’s perimeter. But she, too, then drifted. The doe moved from the rock to flatter ground. She lay down. She shuddered for a time. She died.
The magpies didn’t hesitate. A bird’s got to eat. I feel like I can smell the blood. I think of the car, the neighbor’s dogs, the herd, and the magpies, the collision of the modern, the domesticated, and the wild. It’s time to get a gun.
The deer must be hauled away before it attracts the hungry.