The sun was up early and so I hit the ground runnin’ on this mild, mid-November morn. Destination: Council Point Park. The hunters also were early risers and they gathered en masse at the crack of dawn in search of their prey. The big bucks should watch their collective backs as firearms deer-hunting season began today. You already know I’m a softie when it comes to critters of any kind, so you can guess that I’ll cringe and turn my head the other way if I see a big buck’s bloody carcass slung across the top of a vehicle or peeking out from the bed of a Dodge Ram pick-up truck. It upsets me seeing a deer laying on the pick-up bed floor, its once-majestic head now lolling to the side. Often the deer’s neck is twisted as it lays prone, its head propped up by the antlers. It’s macabre and disturbing – to me anyway.
My dear high school chum Carol lives in the village of Honeoye Falls in Upstate New York. Her property butts up against a large wooded area and she often looks out the doorwall to see deer wandering around her backyard. She snaps their picture and posts it on Facebook with a description of how they meandered into her backyard, perhaps to “visit” or nibble on berries on the fringe of her very picturesque property. Sometimes the moms and their offspring will gather around the gazebo. I guess that big white structure is quite a novelty to the deer. It all sounds very idyllic to this city girl, but I know deer can wreak havoc in neighborhoods when out of their element, and of course car/deer accidents, especially this time of year, have caused the death of many a motorist. Granted, the deer herds need to be thinned out, but the nature lover in me could not see past the big eyes and gentle face to harm this creature.
In the past, I’ve recounted my wonderful memories as a child feeding the wildlife at High Park in Toronto. On vacation we’d often visit Algonquin Park near Georgian Bay in northern Canada which further fostered my love and respect for wildlife. The picture above was taken at Algonquin Park when I was six. I know those happy childhood moments contribute to my current whole enjoyable experience in my forays to Council Point Park. Maybe it is the bullfrog croaking, or perhaps it might be the sweet song of a bird high up in the tree as I happen by. Sometimes a silly smile crosses my face while I am just tossing treats to the ducks. It is just such a simple pleasure to visit the Park, be one with nature and interact with a critter or two. It mellows out my morning and brightens my day. Like a condemned man counting off his remaining days, a glance at the calendar and the colder temps outside tell me to make the most of my moments at the Park before the rough weather settles in. So, before I left on my journey this morning I gathered up my promised treats to take to the Park i.e. a small bag of bread for the ducks, who were congregating in the usual spot and I know I made their day as they did mine. I also filled my coat pocket with raw peanuts which I will confirm brought an unexpected delight to some already-chubby brown squirrels who scampered by my feet then promptly sat on their haunches and begged. Indeed, they knew a sucker when they saw one and their cute antics brought the desired result … a few more peanuts fished from my pocket to be strewn at their feet.
Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. Albert Einstein