Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Driving in the early morning Northern Alberta darkness last Friday, I hit a deer.

I'd say five trotted out of the ditch all at once; there was no way to avoid it. It bounced onto the hood of my car and then slipped off to the side to remain on the highway.

Despite that initial shock, I felt oddly calm.

This happens often where I live. Everyone I know who chooses to share this big beautiful Alberta wilderness with wildlife has one or even two of these stories to tell.

One person stopped immediately; I expected a stranger but it was a friend. She listened politely as I rambled on. My car seemed relatively unscathed but it was definitely not safe to be on the side of the highway even with our flashers blinking so I urged her to go on her way. I jumped back in my car to let someone past but instead someone else stopped, also a friend. She gave me a hug. We talked briefly. After a semi-trailer blew by us like a slap in the face, I urged her to travel on to work.

I still hadn't had an opportunity to actually go look at the deer. Honestly, I was avoiding it. Before I could, another driver stopped and in that morning dark I saw him grab something from the back of his truck, a shovel. He pushed the deer off the road and then came over to my car. A stranger, I shook his hand and thanked him for that. At least the road would be safe for drivers again. He said there's only one problem: the deer was still alive.

The calm drained out of me.

I thanked him again so he left and then it was just the two of us waiting for the sun to rise on that warm December morning, one alive, one dying.

Or maybe both? Not me, this time. I called Alberta Fish & Wildlife and was told someone was already traveling in the area and that he would euthanize the animal. My calm mostly returned but there was another feeling too.

The entire incident from collision to conclusion? Fifteen minutes. Although the repair bill will be costly, my car is drive-able. I'm alive and uninjured. It could have been much worse. At least for me. I even arrived to work on time. That's why something about this whole thing feels too easy.

Brandon Mull wrote "luck has a way of evaporating when you lean on it." I've think I've been leaning on luck, and luck is something I don't much believe in. Because if I did, then I'd probably learn nothing from this lesson about strangers, about mercy, about myself, and about every other ordinary extraordinary day when everything I touched, lived.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Glad you're okay! I've never hit a deer (touch wood) but one did jump out in front of me once on the highway. All I remember was the shock of seeing this big deer ass bobbing up and down as it ran ahead of the car. Then, thank gawd, it veered off. Scared me to death!

I hit a bird once here in the city (it just flew into my car, the crazy thing). It died horribly on the side of the road with magpies and crows closing in for the kill. Boy, that upset me all day, seeing its final wing flutter. I still feel bad about it.

CorvusCorax12 said...

not sure I believe in luck , I know too well how fast things can change. I'm glad you are alright but I'm sure it will stick in your bones for a while

Michael Burrows said...

This week I've seen deer, moose, coyotes, and today a bald eagle enjoying a deer buffet with ravens and magpies.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Hey dbs -- saw this and thought of you -- could have been worse!


dbs said...

@DSWS Ha! Nice one.

CLR said...

Glad you are okay! This is common where I live too. We had a deer leap into the driver side back seat of one of our vehicles years ago. The very seat where my little daughter usually sat, but that day we had it piled full of clothes to give away. A deer hit my son's vehicle too. Scary experience and sad too. I always feel a bit like we are in their habitat, ramming big hunks of metal through their peaceful pathways......I don't know.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...