I hit another deer last night. Rather, the deer hit me and glanced off the back quarter panel, leaving behind a scuff in the paint. No blood, thankfully. This is the second deer in a month. The first deer was in my own neighborhood, about 6 driveways down from the house. I was driving slowly around 11:00 pm, when a stag with a full rack of antlers raced by me on the passenger's side and tried to leap over the hood. It almost made it, but grazed the front quarter panel, leaving a scratch from a back hoof. It stumbled, but made it back up on it's feet before the car could really hit it -- and ran down the street scaring the Bejesus out of a late-night jogger.
Last night after Bible Study, it was dark with only a half of a moon to light the night. The trees on either side of the road crouched dark and foreboding. It felt weird, driving through that Stygian darkness. There is a stretch down Lexington-Carlton where the road slopes down and down and down to the Broad River. As I descended down to the river, the change in altitude caused ribbons of moist air to condense and create creepy ribbons of mist that floated over the road, linking the dark trees on either side. I wondered if I could look out the side of the car and see the headless horseman. As I approached the bridge to cross the river, I had an irrational desire to NOT CROSS. As dark as the trees were, the river was darker, like there were bottomless voids on either side. I crossed the bridge anyway, but it felt so wrong. I saw a few small animals on either side of the road -- a little white dog and a cat crossed right in front of me.
I turned onto Georgia 72, seeing just a few cars as I went through Carlton. Right outside of Comer and as I was slowing down, I became aware of a large thing pacing me on the right. I looked over and saw a huge white doe. I passed it and it zigged and then it zagged right into my back quarter panel, shaking the entire car. I hit my brakes and looked into my rearview mirror to see it jump up and run back into the dark woods.
I stopped at the gas station in Comer and saw the scuff in the paint -- no dents. I wonder how the deer is doing, if it is recovering from the shock. I wonder if it was really white, or did I just catch the headlights reflecting light into its undercoat. I wonder if it is now marked with a spot of burgundy paint on its shoulder to match the white scuff in the car.
I passed another deer on the margin of the road standing stock still -- a fawn still covered with spots. Our eyes met for a moment and I felt it knew something.
It was a mythic ride. The dark looming trees, the fear of crossing the water, the void on either side of the bridge, the white doe, the fawn's knowing eyes. Or maybe I just have a vivid imagination. Or perhaps the stag, the doe and the fawn are signposts to something. A noble proud stag; a deer that perhaps can cross over to other spheres; a harbinger of new life.