(Apologies to Claude Debussy)
This afternoon Carol and I played golf on our local (Victoria, TX) Riverside Golf Course.
As its name implies, it lies beside the banks of the Guadalupe River. Much of the land around the course is forested, and there is a significant deer population in the area.
Well, this is the time of year when the does (“a deer, a female deer”) drop their fawns. These amazing creatures can run within hours of birth, and after a few days they can run like the wind. Well, you all saw “Bambi,” so you know that.
One habit of the mama deer is to leave little Bambi lying quietly in a semi-secluded spot (more sillibance, or as some would spell it, sibilance—take your pick; I do) while she goes off to do whatever a mama deer does in the daytime. (I could have written, “...whatever does do,” or maybe, “...whatever one of the does does,” but that would have been confusing. Is that word “doughs” or “duz?” Or are we trying to “do si do,” as in square dancing? But I digress.)
In mama doe's absence little Bambi will usually lie still, even when approached by humans. But sometimes the humans get too close. Or something spooks Bambi. Or maybe Bambi just decides he wants to run.
Anyway, here’s my tale. (Not “tail,” Karyn!)
Today I saw Bambi lying in the shade of some trees between two fairways. He seemed contented enough, and we left him alone. Behind us, however, a golfer hit his tee shot near Bambi, and Bambi decided he wanted to be somewhere else.
We saw him loping along beside the tree-lined fairway in the shade. You have to picture this: Bambi is only 14 inches tall, and most of that height is legs that look like tiny twigs. He turned and crossed our fairway just ahead of us, noticed us nearby, and doubled his speed.
I was amazed that anything that small could move so fast! His little legs were a blur as he bounded along, across an adjacent fairway, around an elevated green, and then parallel to a road just off the course.
Cars were traveling on the road, so he stayed on the golf course until he approached some buildings (golf cart barn and clubhouse). He wheeled, making an impossible U-turn in defiance of the laws of physics, and ran beside the road in the opposite direction, back the way he had come and getting closer to us again.
He was still traveling faster than I can imagine any dog running when he ducked under a shrub bordering the course and went straight toward the road.
My heart stopped as he streaked across the road, but no car hit him. He turned once more to parallel the road, and as a car approached him from behind he doubled his speed again!
The car had to be moving at 30 mph, at least. Bambi, I swear, outran the car! His legs completely disappeared, they were moving so fast. I wondered if his feet were even touching the ground. Once more he veered—another impossible turn at that speed—flashed across the road well ahead of the car, and disappeared into the woods.
I was so caught up in watching him I completely lost track of how many times I’d hit the ball on that hole. So DON’T ASK ME WHAT MY SCORE WAS today! I was watching the baby deer, okay?!
That was my Afternoon of a Fawn. Despite the clouds, there were some rays (“A drop of golden sun”), and me (“A name I call myself”) and my wife got to watch Bambi go very fast, and very fa (“A long, long way to run”).
Betcha you’re singing that song to yourself, right? And will be for the next hour or so. Try listening to a recording of Claude Debussy’s “Afternoon of a Faun;” maybe it’ll drive the tune away.