I Love Autumn, but I Don’t Love Deer

Every year I start to get an urge to write about how much I love autumn. Frankly, I feel stupider for it… Of course I love autumn. I live in New England. I like sweaters and boots and crunchy leaves under my feet. I love walking in the woods without being swarmed by bugs, or having to balance my need to be cool with my need to protect my body parts from things that bite. I love apples and I loooooooove cinnamon… I even kind of like raking. (mostly because my yard isn’t that big, and I don’t have to bag my leaves because the town comes and picks them up).

I don’t always love the garden cleanup — it’s a little depressing and messy — but that’s OK…because this:

I mean, c’mon… How cute is that?

Last Friday I took the day off and headed into the woods with Maybelle, a friend, and his dog. Whenever we go out with these two I have to relinquish control and let May off her leash — or live with the whining as her buddy gets to run off into the woods after critters and she’s stuck with me. The problem is, once May’s on the hunt…she doesn’t always stop. She can chase a chipmunk up a tree and the fun is over, but when she finds things like deer… Oh God…

From looking at my dog you can probably tell she’s a catlle dog mixed with (most likely) some kind of hound. So… she likes to chase things–and when she loses the trail, she doesn’t always just give up… She sniffs it out and hits the road again. I don’t know what she found this time, because she just kind of disappeared. Usually you can tell when she’s found something REALLY good like a deer because of the high-pitched yipping. This time,I heard none of that. She was probably gone for five minutes or so but it felt like years as we wandered in the woods, calling her name. (I really need to get her a cow bell or something so at least I can hear her.) When her big dumb ears peaked up over a hill and she stood there looking at me like, “Hey, I’m so glad I found you…I just had so much fun…” I was utterly relieved.

What made it worse was that we were in a new place — hiking somewhere I’d never been before (and that we had a lot of trouble finding). We didn’t even end up where we had intended to go and I still don’t know exactly where we were. All I know is we were somewhere in here:

We were trying to hike near the lake, but that’s not where we ended up.

She came running up to me and I hugged and loved on her and told her what a good girl she is, and then I put her ass back on the leash. Somehow I made it through a whole winter, spring, and summer of hiking without losing her. She might run off into the woods a little after squirrels and such, but I could see her — and if I couldn’t, she  reappeared quickly. But the fall has been different. Deer are on the move, and she’s now chased one, found another but was on a long leash, and I’m guessing probably chased another one this past weekend. So while I still love the crunch of the leaves and the mild temperatures… I am not a huge fan of the deer.

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