The lies we tell

indexThe twins came to Camp Granny’s this weekend, and Saturday morning, out in the yard I saw a mother deer and the smallest fawn I’ve ever seen, covered in spots and no bigger than a house cat.

The deer turned because I gasped, so I whispered up the stairs for the children to come down — quickly and quietly — to see something awesome. These are not children who embrace direct orders, but damn if they didn’t tiptoe down the stairs, fast, and press their noses against the screen, quietly. The mother deer meandered around the yard, followed haphazardly by the fawn, and then the mother started across the road followed — sort of — by the fawn, which seemed to have trouble keeping its balance.

I could see where the morning might go — a car could careen around the curve and give Granny an opportunity to talk about the circle of life — so I turned to hustle the children upstairs — nothing to see here! — when one of them cried out. The fawn had hobbled onto the road and curled up on its haunches. On the road! In the middle of it, as a matter of fact! With the mother halfway up the hill and turned back, looking at her baby!

Sometimes I hate nature.

With a quick admonition that the twins stay inside, I headed out, but a nice lady in a fancy black car stopped and beat me to the fawn.

“Do you think my scent will keep the mother away?” she called over to me, and I said no, that the mother was just up the hill, so she bent down to pick up the fawn, which began kicking, which I took as a good sign.

It didn’t take two of us to lift the fawn, so I stood directing traffic, which wasn’t very taxing because everyone wanted to stop and watch the woman’s progress up the hill with the squirming fawn. I could see the mother at the crest, maybe 50 feet away.

The woman pushed her way through a thicket and set the fawn down in a little clearing, where her mother could easily shepherd the fawn the rest of the way.

It was a steep hill, and the woman started to stumble as she neared the bottom, but I caught her. I’d been feeling a little worthless so I almost appreciated her near-tumble. She asked if I thought there was poison ivy on the slope, and I didn’t have the heart to tell her she’d just waded through an ankle-high patch of it. We shook hands — I’m not sure why, though I guess that’s what you do when you share a Nature Moment — and she went on her way.

Back inside, the twins were beside themselves. Would the baby be alright? Was the mommy coming back? Could they pet it?

I answered yes to three of those questions and without thinking asked if they’d seen the mommy come back to get her baby. Why, she’d scampered right down the hill to get the fawn. Maybe, I said, they couldn’t see because the trees were in the way, but Granny saw it. They asked if she kissed her baby, and I said of course she did! Just like your mommy kisses you!

Satisfied, they went back up the stairs to play, and I went to make them a snack and only later thought how easily that lie had come — no forethought, no planning, just a beautiful ending to a beautiful story.

The twins went home and the next day I climbed the hill. There was no fawn. So maybe I didn’t lie. Maybe the mommy really did come back, that she did just as I told the twins she would do — took her baby home and cuddled.


Published by datingjesus

Just another one of God's children.

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    1. A house cat with long legs. I wonder if it was a newborn. I honestly don’t know. It was covered in spots and I went online to try to find its like. If it wasn’t a newborn, it was very, very young.

      1. Whitetails mostly in Connecticut, I think.
        It’s odd to see a young spotted fawn wandering around. Mom usually hides them in the brush or some other cover where they stay still and quiet until she returns from grazing. Mom often stays away from the fawn for the first few days to avoid attracting predators. (Fawns are born odorless.) This one may have trying to move the fawn to safer cover. Or…it may not have been the actual mother.

        1. All good guesses. The mother was wandering around the front yard, which is on a not-too-busy paved road, and the fawn was sort-of following, as I said. They were white-tail, definitely. And the baby had a pretty good kick and the prettiest little hooves. I’m no deer expert (it sounds like you know more than the average nature-lover) but the mother really didn’t seem to want to leave the baby. She hung around and I felt bad that there were so many of us involved. That must have been weird for her.

          1. She was probably trying to move it to a safer location.

            We don’t usually see young ones around our neighborhood until late summer…or fire season…whichever comes first…and by then the spots are usually gone or almost gone. But there’s more open space out here. We’ve got about 6 or 8 that move into the neighborhood every year well before hunting season. The adults have little, if any, fear of humans and can actually get kind of pesky if you try and shoo them away. Except for the older bucks. They’ll only get close to houses for a few weeks out of the year, drawn in by females. They’ll usually stay hidden in the draws and drainages or a tree-line when the neighborhood is active. But…they don’t shoo so good.

  1. Those Granny fibs are easily forgiven. A little shelter from sad reality is allowed until they are older. Good Granny!

  2. Mother deer often leave the young ones alone while they go off and eat. It’s what deer do – an explanation I read said that the young have no scent, but moms do and they protect the fawn by being away. Of course, on the road is no safe place for baby! So moving it was a good idea. And no, they don’t give a damn about human scent. If they did, our yards would not get the hostas eaten every year :D

    1. I hope that’s all it was, that she was just going off to eat, but no, we couldn’t leave the baby in the road. I really do hope she came back to get the fawn.

        1. From
          “If a fawn is found in a dangerous place: If the mother did not make a good choice as to where she left her fawn (too close to a road or some other potential danger) the fawn may be picked up and immediately moved several feet away from the danger; try to stay within eyesight of the original location. Then tap the fawn on the back or on top of the head, like the mom would do, to make it lie down and stay until its mother arrives. You may check on it the following day (between dawn and dusk.)

          Note: a mother deer will continue to look for her baby up to 72 hours, therefore, if you have picked up a fawn that was alone and mistaken for an orphan you have 72 hours to return this fawn as close as possible to where it was found.”

          I bet the mama deer gave the baby a kiss, too!

  3. Lies make me NUTS… but I am a big believer in little ones said with good intentions to protect someone’s feelings. On another note, I saved a baby duck yesterday and reunited it with it’s siblings. I waited nervously for mom to return, and she did. It is a great feeling to be one with nature like that.

    1. I still don’t know if the mother deer returned, but I’m telling myself she did. Good on you for helping with the reunion.

  4. Maybe the fawn had something wrong with it that the mother knew and decided leaving it behind in the road was the most merciful thing to do.

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