Aha! · Writers Write

The Only Thing We Have To Fear . . .

A woman approached me on the back loop at the park this week. 

“There’s a deer over there.” Dressed in workout clothes, she appeared sane, but her voice trembled.

I responded carefully. “Lots of animals live in this park. It’s a wildlife preserve.”

“But we’re in the middle of a city.”

“Some people leave grain for them. In the drought, they haven’t had much grass to graze on.”

“Will they hurt me?” She was close to backtracking the other direction.

 I kept moving forward. “They won’t hurt you. Deer aren’t as aggressive as dogs.”

“But they’re big, and so close.”

“I’ll walk with you.” 

She followed, putting me between her and the hoofed assailants. Around the corner, two small does were munching grass and nibbling oak leaves. So focused on breakfast, they barely lifted their heads as we passed. 

The woman said, “It’s my first time to walk here. I usually walk down Henderson Pass. Today, I came looking for a change.”

Henderson Pass isn’t very residential. I wouldn’t feel safe walking in that traffic. Yet, this lady was afraid of a two small deer, too tame to run away. I haven’t seen her since. The park was too wild for her, I guess. 

Our conversation made me wonder. What harmless thing frightens me? How often do I adjust my steps to avoid a situation because I haven’t had experience with it?

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