I see a lot of deer along the paths I ride, especially in the evening. And lately, I've seen a good sized buck on a number of occasions... a "six-pointer" (meaning he has six tips on his antlers) at least. I've seen him on the trail near where I live, and even in the back yard once or twice (my cat, Tybalt, was very excited at this!). I've even gotten fairly close to him without him running off... but tonight was the best.
My route home consists of a short stretch of town street, then a paved, multi-use trail. From there I turn off onto a narrow paved trail, over a creek, which then turns into a dirt path for the final leg home. Tonight, just as I was about to reach the dirt portion, I saw the glow of eyes in my headlight beam. Now, this isn't uncommon in itself... it happens often in fact. But something struck me as different tonight, so I kept my light (mounted on my helmet instead of the bike) aimed at the eyes as I drew nearer. It soon became clear what was different... the eyes were lower to the ground than I would have expected... because the deer was lying on the ground, resting... and it was the buck I have seen many times now.
I've never seen a deer at rest like this before, so I slowed down, and spoke softly as I drew nearer. I do that... when I see an animal when I'm out and about, I tend to talk to them, quietly, to try to let them know I'm not a threat. It may be silly... it may have no effect at all... but it seems the right thing to do, and I do it without thinking now. And tonight, for whatever reason, the buck just rested there on the ground, in a little thicket in the woods, as I slowly rode by, and told him I meant no harm.
Beautiful creature... beautiful night... a gorgeous full moon...