Yesterday we spent part of the day at the beautiful – and quite deserted – Potomac Overlook Regional Park in Arlington, Virginia. We sat for a while in the Indian Garden, quiet, just taking it all in – when in my peripheral vision I saw a golden creature that I first thought was a large dog. I turned, and it was a deer, not a fawn, but quite small. He seemed to tip-toe around us, eating grass and flowers. He stayed with us for about ten minutes – coming close, drifting off, coming close again – though it seemed longer.
I gave up my wristwatch recently, and replaced it with a pocket watch on a chain around my neck. It is more trouble to look at it, which makes me look at it less, which is what I wanted. Now that it’s nearly summer, life will be less structured and there will be long stretches of time when I won’t need it at all.
I thought yesterday of Bob Hicok’s poem “Switching to deer time,” from his award-winning book This Clumsy Living. Here’s an excerpt:
How I decide
to get out of bed these days is deer.
If I look out my window and see them
I know it’s time to feed my feet
to the mouths of my jeans
and when I told my wife the deer
are my new clock she said they won’t fit
on the mantle.
…And deer are the best clocks because time
is twitchy, is a nervous thing
running away from us into woods…