"Nature," the Durham County deputy sheriff told me Sunday morning, "can sometimes be cruel."
He was right.
Trying to prevent that cruelty is precisely why I'd called the sheriff's department in the first place. After waking up and wiping the hair and the sleep from my eyes, I looked out my window and saw a tiny, forlorn fawn furled up on the ground in my backyard. The protective camouflage coating provided by nature was doing it best to protect it, but I could see it and, no doubt, so would any lurking predators or scavengers.
Over the course of a couple of hours the poor thing moved only barely, and not at all when I walked to within two feet of it - close enough to see the fear in its brown eyes.
I also saw a crow and a buzzard layin' in the cut,
presumably waiting for the fawn to breathe its last so
they could feast.
When I phoned the sheriff's department and told the deputy about the obviously distressed animal in my backyard, he informed me that the department could do nothing about an injured wild animal on private property.
"If it was in the street," he said, "we could move it."
My only option, he told me, was to let nature run its course.
That's when he said "Nature can be cruel."
Yeah, but sometimes, it can be wonderful.
Just as, I presume, the crow and buzzard were
tweeting and sending text messages to alert their
friends to bring the barbecue sauce and beer to the
impending feast, the faltering fawn's mother
The recently birthed baby deer rallied its strength, got
up and tottered into the woods behind its mother,
where it commenced to suckle.
The crow hopped around the area where the fawn had lain moments earlier, no doubt bewildered and thinking "Hey, wait a minute. I know brunch was lying here a minute ago."
The fawn was the runtiest-looking one I've ever seen, so there's no telling what happened to it once it went into the woods. One thing is certain, though: nature's cruelty was held at bay for at least a little while on a beautiful Sunday morning.