Last weekend M and I were at just the start of our journey to run several errands. Literally, we had just turned on to the highway (which is located at the end of our street) and driven less than a quarter mile when a deer darted in front of our car. It was a young deer, probably a yearling, and it was just far enough in front of our car (and I had not had time to accelerate fully) that I could slam on the breaks and let it cross in front of us without harm.
Two days before, M and I had had a similar experience with a dog that was dragging its leash behind it. I can only assume it got away from its owner who was trying to take it for a walk on a (comparatively, up until then) warm Spring day. He was a medium-sized dog and seemed relatively unfazed by the traffic. I stopped and let him cross in front of us. I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw he made it across the road safely.
This day, with this deer, I look in the rear-view mirror just in time to see the deer launch into the air after being hit by a VW Bug. M cries out: Oh! They hit him! She immediately starts to cry and tremor. She's visibly shaken, even from what I can see in my rear-view mirror. I can admit it wasn't a pretty sight and nothing I've witnessed before. My tender-hearted daughter wept for the deer that we nearly hit.
I'm going to turn around and make sure the people are okay, I tell her. She mumbles her agreement between sobs. They were southbound on the divided highway we were northbound on our way to accomplish our errands.
It's not that far to the nearest place to turn around but it seems an eternity. M is sobbing in the back seat. I put my right hand on her knee and rub it as I drive. It's awkward but necessary.
We pull up just as a man is pulling the deer out of the traffic lane. Before I can reach the vehicle involved in the accident the other 2 vehicles that have stopped have gone on their ways.
I reach the passenger first. She's an older woman and she's trying to get the glass out of her shoe. Dammit! That poor deer! I thought today would be such a good day! She's upset, understandably.
The windshield is buckled to the edge of the dashboard almost all the way across the car. M joins us at the side of the road. We converse with the victims of the crash. Her husband didn't see the deer. She saw it, just moments too late. It happens quickly. The woman is more upset about the deer than the damage to the car. The car can be fixed. That poor deer.
They don't live far from us. They were also just on the start of their journey. Our days were altered in unique ways. Miss M continued to ask questions and process what she'd seen.
She's still processing.
But we were lucky.