Southern Alberta:

One summer, I was working in a small town about 20km east of a small city. The summers were long and beautiful, and when I had the extra time I would walk the 20km home after shopping in city. The long golden grass along the road was full of grasshoppers, sparrows, and the occasional garter snake. Every 500m or so the ditch had enough water to support what sounded like thousands of chorus frogs. I have a habit of talking to creatures wherever I go, and this walk was no exception. I candidly spoke to the sparrows, introduced myself to the grasshoppers, and—although their songs overwhelmed my voice—struck up a good heart-to-heart with the frogs at each puddle. At one point, chatting with the frogs, I discovered a deer was grazing in the long grass quite close to me. Surprisingly, the deer hadn’t realized I was there; pedestrians are rare along the highway and any noise I made was completely drowned out by the frogs. At more or less the same time we turned and faced each other, and I said aloud, “Oh, hello dear”! As soon as I said it I giggled, and continued to explain to the deer that I was laughing because I had called him a dear and he really was a deer. During this admittedly one-sided conversation, the deer began walking towards me, eyes directly on me and ears perked forward. As it approached, I continued my rambling, telling him how handsome he was, and what marvelous antlers he had. At some point, when the deer was about 2m from me, I felt a moment of apprehension. I wondered why the deer was coming so close and so I stopped talking. Immediately upon ceasing my dialogue and feeling this twinge of unease the magic fell away—the deer stopped walking, cocked its head to one side, and then swiftly turned around and bounded away.

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