Upon a desolate road I sat, a dirt road stretching between nowhere and no place. Beneath the simmering sun I cooled myself in the car as I watched and waited. Not for anything in particular, mind you, but instead I waited for anything. That’s when she arrived, a female white-tailed deer (a.k.a. whitetail deer; Odocoileus virginianus).
Behind the windshield’s sunscreen I hunkered, behind the dark window tint I hid, and from there I watched her as she approached, finally taking station in the shade of an Ashe juniper (a.k.a. post cedar, mountain cedar or blueberry juniper; Juniperus ashei).
Repeatedly she glanced at the car, its quiet motor humming, its occupant camouflaged from view, only brief movements of the camera lens visible. But obviously the click of the dSLR’s shutter called to her, for each photo captured brought her gaze back to me, back to the car.
Expecting her to flee the unknown, much to my surprise she turned and approached, timidly, slowly, carefully, yet always forward, always looking, always curious.
Eventually near enough for me to toss a rock to her, she stopped and stared, so docile and inquisitive, so standoffish and peculiar. How I stared, wondering about this odd behavior, wondering what behooved her to seek enlightenment rather than shelter.
A step closer she came, still curious, but when the shutter sounded this time, her ears went back with surprise and worry, yet she remained probing and unmoving, almost meek and needful. Finally I stopped photographing her, instead choosing to watch her, to watch this strange and timid approach named curiosity.
Never before or since have I known a wild deer to be so forgiving of human encroachment in the name of satisfying unadulterated interest.