She appeared in the left hand lane. She was young and beautiful like so many deer we have passed safely. I didn’t try to swerve; there really is nowhere to swerve to on these narrow roads. I did have time to slow down, but not enough time. She cleared the left bumper, but then there was the thud. I felt the impact. It was not enough to stop us, so I drove to the next turnout, glancing once in the rearview mirror. I saw a little cloud of dust rise from the ditch where I am sure she fell. I can only hope she died quickly.
In 1971, John and I drove a visiting meditation master from Olympia to Seattle. We weren’t very good meditators, but we had a car and were making the trip anyway to deliver a mattress to… I don’t remember where. The car was a 1947 Dodge sedan with suicide doors and a hippie paint job. The mattress was strapped to the roof. He was waiting for us to pick him up at the side of the road. His robes were dark red, he was small, his English complete but heavily accented. He took his place in the vehicle without mentioning its uniqueness. John drove and I chattered. Somewhere between Tumwater and Fort Lewis, I asked him about deer. Why are deer the only creatures that are ok to eat? He patiently tried to explain the nature of deer and how ingesting that nature could not hurt you. I don’t remember the whole doctrine nor did I really understand it at the time. It was something about deer being gentle and good. What I do remember is him being quick to add that no matter the uniqueness of deer and their inability to hurt us by eating them, of course we would never do it. And now, in 2016, forty-five years later, I have killed a deer and not bothered to eat it.