My driveway is covered with the last of the leaves that have been falling like the snowflakes we’ll be seeing soon. It was a spectacular fall here in Andes, where the seasons’ end comes early. Driving up from New York City, the leaves are just beginning to turn, so if you want to extend your “autumn photo ops,” just take a drive to Manhattan’s Central Park or Riverside Drive, or drive east to West Hartford, where I just returned from a visit with my daughter, Jeannie, and her family. Spring comes earlier there, and fall ends later, giving them an extra month of beautiful weather.
Last week, driving to Oneonta, I experienced what we all dread here in the Catskills. I hit a deer. She came from nowhere, leaping from behind a bush and hitting me head-on; a beautiful, young deer, who, upon impact, flew up in the air and across the road, landing behind bushes on the other side of the road. I skidded to a stop and at the same time saw her mother and a sibling standing together where she had been a minute before. The car behind me, fortunately, was able to stop without hitting me and the driver, a lovely, sympathetic woman, came to see if I was all right and waited while I got myself back together to continue on my way. The deer died instantly. I’m glad of that, and afterward hoped that she was found and became good meals for a family who would appreciate her, like the McShanes!
I’m not used to thinking of using a cell phone but I do carry one with me for just such an emergency, outside of our no-cell-phone area. After my body stopped shaking and my breathing returned to normal, I called my daughter, Amy, who lives in Jefferson, not far from where I was and told her I was coming to her house. I needed some “tea and sympathy” before returning home to my empty house. I didn’t know exactly how to get to Amy’s from where I was and was not in the frame of mind to figure it out, but I suddenly realized that my trusty GPS would help me. A half hour later I was sitting with Amy, a cup of tea in my hand and a calming hug, and I was well enough to drive home.
The damage to the car didn’t seem so great (I later learned that repairs would cost over $2,250!) and it was drivable. The deer is dead and I’m lucky to be alive. Thinking back, I don’t know what I could have done to avoid that accident, but I did learn several things that helped me in that situation. One was the good distance between my car and the one behind me. Another was the good Samaritan who checked to see if I was all right and stayed with me until I felt well enough to drive, and, having a fully charged cell phone and GPS. All helped in a traumatic situation.
I still see that beautiful, young deer flying through the air and hope she felt no pain, and wonder what her mother and sibling were feeling as they watched. Hitting an animal on the road is something we all fear living here in the Catskills. We’re all careful to try to avoid it happening and take the usual precautions, but still it does happen, and I hope that my experience will make us even more vigilant.~