As some of you know, about two years ago, I was driving west by Intermediate School around dusk on West Park Avenue in my little convertible when I saw a large deer cross the road just at the edge of my headlights.
Having grown up in upstate New York, I remember the old adage, "When you see a deer, there's always tow." I was reminded of that when seconds later another deer crashed out of the woods and slammed into my driver's side door. Had it occurred a split second later, that deer would have been through the window and in my lap.
I had to pull into the school's driveway to catch my breath. The first thing I did was call my mother to calm me down and then I called the police. For all my years working as a Municipal Prosecutor, I had no idea whether to call the police - especially because I didn't see a deer in the road.
As it happened, the police did find a small deer in the woods down the road (so I hadn't imagined it.) I felt really bad about the poor deer and had sad thoughts about it the next day. Although I have been driving for almost forty years without hitting a deer, ever since, I have a nervous wreck about it happening again.
Fast-forward to Friday night when I was driving home in the winter dark heading east on Hope Road near the driveway into The Ranney School. Again, just at the edge of my headlights, I see two huge deer nonchalantly walk out of the driveway and into the street. I had to jam on my brakes (and discovered the anti-lock brake feature on my new car works rather well) and came to a rocking stop. They barely looked at me as they crossed my path nonchalantly with their eyes gleaming in my headlights.
Although I was hyperventilating (just a bit), I could still appreciate how magnificent, muscular and calm they were. Obviously, it seemed they thought I was in their way and not the other way around. After they passed, I resumed my trip ashamed to admit that my only thought a minute earlier was, "Oh no! Not my new car!", but in reality I was in awe of their stature and how they seem at peace in their surroundings.
As you can see, the evening turned out all right and I was able to drive on my way. But this time, I was a bit more aware of the world around me- deer included. On a deeper level, I thought that we must all remain vigilant at all times to the world going on around us, not just when we drive. Never be too busy to notice and take part in the world around you.
Just for the record, I do think I will stick to Highway 35 and the Garden State Parkway until Spring thaw comes around - you know, just in case. Safe driving, everyone!