They were three on the path in front of me.
When I came upon them, they didn’t run. They just stood there, staring at me. Then, as one body, they moved: one pawed the ground; one began eating the leaves from a small bush; the third started walking towards me.
Deer are supposed to run from people. I walked closer to the deer coming towards me and it didn’t stop. I stamped my foot and it still came. I raised my arms and waved and it didn’t pause, didn’t blink. I turned around to go back, and only then did it stop, turn around, and head back to the other two.
I turned around one more time, back towards the deer. The little bold one swung around back to me, as if it were on a string and matched to my movements. I began to walk towards it, thinking this time it would shy away. It didn’t. I moved closer until I could see the ragged edges of its fur and the tiny black at the center of its eyes, but still, it came.
I didn’t know what to make of the deer. I imagine it had run from humans one too many times. Run from the food and the best footing and the last of the sunshine. Run back into the trees and the shadows and the low branches waiting to trip it and the bushes already picked clean.
Probably decided to hell with it. Yes, that’s it. To hell with it. You push anything hard enough, even a small deer, and they’ll think to themselves to hell with it.