A Thin Veil
Sometimes, and it doesn’t matter the season, a fog will rise from the creek and work its’ way through the woods then reach out into the fields like spectral fingers; other times like a gossamer wall winding along obscuring clumps, and forms causing the eyes to blink twice trying to make out what may be standing in the field.
Tonight I walked out onto the porch, glanced toward the lake and noticed the misty veil overshadowing the field. ‘Paul’s calves got out, daggonit.’
I blinked, ‘Are they deer?’
I was now walking towards them on the gravel drive treading carefully to minimize underfoot crunching. It was the two deer mamas, one had a single yearling, and the other had twins. As I smiled to see them, they took off running towards the garden.
‘Crap, that one’s heading straight for me.’
Right as I thought it, she stopped; the others behind and to the left of her. She was tall much taller than she had looked in the field a few minutes ago. I was at the edge of the drive just before the garden and she was about sixteen feet from me. The damp fog was enveloping us. She stared at me and slightly raised her right hoof kind of turning her neck to see where the others were. The four were watching her. The fog lifted a little so it formed a roof-like cloudiness above us. She set her hoof down, and created a solid forward stance staring fully at my form. And, I was staring right back at her my back straight, feet slightly apart not threatening just trying to embody confidence. If she wanted to charge at me there was no where for me to go except full tilt sprint back to the house.
She turned again towards the group, and kind of shook her head up and down. She looked back at me. I stood still, and did as she did, I took the moment to really look at her. Her velvety fur that seemed quite thick, her thin long legs, the way her ears twitched almost imperceptibly, and the noble gaze with which she held my green eyes. We both were taking a long, inquisitive look at what we both feared, and respected driven by our mutual curiosity. The fog had moved to the left of the group, and was swirling and moving as it danced over the grass mounds and french drains in the field.
In the second that I thought, ‘this has to break up’, she moved to the left. All of them loping off not really running, but just moving away. She overtook them leading in front with the others just behind her like a lady with her maids, and then they were enveloped in the vapor. As they ran, the mist swirled upwards hovered above them for a few seconds almost seeming to tremble before dropping down around them like the shifting movement of silky cloth.
I wanted to run, to follow, to see where they were going. I actually started running, but after a few thudding steps I heard a sound, and realized it was coming from me; a choked cry rising up carrying out over the stillness. Those deer were like my dreams, along with all the dreams I had for my life, they slipped away. In that moment, I could see the only thing swirling ’round me was a thin veil of regret, and I hated myself for what I’d become. Nothing. I had become, nothing.