Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Oh, deer!

Last evening, driving through the Cuyahoga Valley on the way to look at the blue herons (oh, are they nesting and flying and wowing folks down on Bath Road!), we saw--of course--some deer here and there, out from hiding, feeding in pastures.  Such a bucolic scene ... sylvan grace and all ...

But last fall ... ?  That was a different story.

I love daylilies.  I'm not sure why.  But I've always wanted them around the house--and we've always had them.  Maybe my fondness for them comes from their appearance each year about the time I began wishing the school year were over?  Paper-grading weariness and other school-induced odiousness usually ground me down by May.  And so there's something hopeful about the daylily.  There it is, rising from the ground in stalky greendom, harbinger of summer (and no essays to grade!).

Last summer our lilies were especially lush looking.  Joyce had planted some peach-colored ones, and they looked ripe enough to eat ("Do I dare to eat a peach?").  Each morning, I looked forward to seeing them as I walked or biked down to the coffee shop.

And then ... Wednesday, 13 July 2011.

I came out that morning with joy in my heart, a joy soon transformed into the most homicidal rage.  Someone had cut off every single blooming daylily in our yard!  (See before-and-after shots.)

I did something I've never done before: I called the cops.  I asked the dispatcher if she'd received any other reports of an Orchid (uh, Lily) Thief operating in our neighborhood.  No, she said.  I thought she sounded a little cavalier about the whole thing, to be honest.  This was a crime, damnit!  And I wanted action!  I wanted some police brutality!  I wanted someone's blood--or head--or both (hard to have the second without the first, you know?). 

I hung up, boiling with indignation.

Later in the day, at Starbucks, I ran into a friend who teaches biology up at the Academy--Pat Smith.  I told him the story.  He looked at me as if I were the dumbest damn guy in Summit County.  He breathed deeply, spoke: "It's the deer," he said.

And I'm thinking: Bambi ate my goddam lilies!  Bambi!  What a little vandalous vixen!  (I know--a vixen is a fox and a very non-PC word for a ... you know, but I was in  full, Daffy-Duck rage at the time.)

And then, over the next day or so, my rage softened into something more like a snit.

A couple of days later, I saw at the coffee shop a local cop I've gotten to know--a good guy.  I told him the story, laughing at myself.  But not as hard as he laughed at me.  He promised he would round up all the deer, get them in a line-up for me.  We'll get her, he promised with something like sincerity.  Protect and serve ...

Even later, we were up having dinner with friends in Beachwood (the Brodskys, for you Harmon followers).  As we were leaving (in the gloaming), we saw deer across in their neighbors' yard--calmly chomping on their daylilies.  It was cathartic.  It was not just the Dyers' lilies the deer were stalking!  Or, rather, unstalking ...

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