A few years ago, the sight of a deer in our backyard caught me by surprise. In fact, it was a shock as our two dogs were also in the backyard. There was fencing all around so it must have jumped over or how it got there, I never knew. Our two dogs were already at the heels of the deer, barking and nipping at it.|
A neighbour and her daughter were just outside of the fence, both horrified at what they were seeing, and my neighbour shouted to the dogs to stop. I was at my wits end, not knowing what to do. This was alien territory, something that I had never witnessed before. And I was now in the middle of it, trying to find a solution.
Our male dog seemed to be more of a follower, perhaps because he was younger, my husband later said (after I had related the incident to him for he was away at the time). Our female dog was the more aggressive one as well as the one who was harder to get a hold of. After I managed to get our male dog inside the house, I screamed at the top of my lungs (wondering what my other neighbours must be thinking), trying to prevent our female dog from nipping at the deer. It didn't look like very much, she just lunged forward and nipped now and then, but I could see that the deer was trying to escape and the bits of torn flesh on its back. It was hurt and it was trying to get away. It even looked like it had a broken limb. I had always thought my dogs were friendly creatures. Protective, yes, even territorial. It was one thing to watch National Geographic on the small screen. I certainly didn't like it happening in my very own backyard. My dog was a predator. My eyes were opened.
The rest is a bit of a blur but the deer did manage to escape. When I couldn't see it anymore, I looked all around and saw an opening in the fence, away from where the previous action had taken place. Something - or someone - had broken through the fence. I couldn't think anymore. I quickly repaired it as best as I could, relieved that it was over.
Now that I look back on that episode, I think that a child could learn from this. We were no longer living in the city. And it appeared that the countryside brought with it new adventures and different lessons.
It was the beginning of autumn. I heard tiny thuds and rolling sounds in our backyard and wondered what they were. I saw a squirrel scurrying across one tree to another. The little creature even threw down an acorn and it rolled on the ground. I was fascinated. There was a breeze and the autumn leaves fell to the ground. Other acorns dropped to the ground on their own. And I wished that I could have shared those moments with a child. Perhaps there was even a lesson there. I could explain the changing of the seasons and what the animals did to prepare for the winter. There were people such as my husband and I who needed to store wood for the winter. I realised how important that was for us. Mr. Squirrel was busy doing his part preparing for the winter season. I'd always known that, of course, but it felt different that time. I was older but still managed to be fascinated. And I wondered what a child could learn from all this.
One day, as I ventured outside, a knocking sound intrigued me. I looked up and a woodpecker was busy pecking a hole into a tree. It was oblivious to me as it continued pecking and I just thought how wonderful it would be if a child could share this moment with me. And we would talk about it. I, too, was learning a lesson. I actually liked the knocking sounds. And even welcomed the appearance of the woodpecker. I'd heard those pecking sounds before but to actually see it in action before my very eyes was actually fascinating to me. I remembered the cartoon, Woody Woodpecker, from my childhood and I could only smile.
It is true. I wish I could share such moments with a child or two. Maybe even three or four? Would they have questions for me? Would they be filled with delight and intrigue just like I was?
Sometimes it is nice to be able to make all these little discoveries with one so young and innocent. And I admit that there are times when I wish I could.