A Brief Encounter


I sit on top of a rotting mountain of leaves with my head resting on a trash bag full of more mountain. I am alone, and have plants to pot. I watch the sky.

Over the sporadic shouts from nearby disc-golfers, I hear an earthly thunder, hoofbeats multiplied and echoed, coming from the East. I watch as a white-tailed buck gallops into view, next to the stream below, and hurdles up the hill. I turn and see it cross the trail at full speed, and it disappears into the trees.

Then another. And another, and another, until an entire herd is stampeding in front of me, careening up and over the trail, through the trees opposite.

I raise my phone to record the spectacle (forgive me, I know), and for a full thirty seconds it continues. Dozens of deer, more than I’ve ever seen at one time, hurtle through my field of vision, up, over the trail, and away.

It isn’t until they vanish from sight, their hoofbeats still fading, that the reason for their exodus is made clear: a black Labrador, large for its breed, bounds by the creek and follows, over the path, and away. I realize my phone wasn’t recording and I lower it, watch the leaves settle back into relative silence.

The view from the rotting leaf-mountain.
A sweet gum fruit, which I suppose is calming enough to fit this story.

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