Monday, November 19, 2012

Two Hairy Drives

  5am on Saturday and we were driving to Buffalo Airport. It was a surreal experience, travelling before dawn on the first day of deer season.  You need two people;  one to drive, one to keep an eagle eye. It was dark and the deer were probably sensing danger in the air but not running yet. Dawn is when the shooting starts and dusk when it should end but the normally empty and dark lanes dazzled with endless oncoming headlights; pickup trucks, mostly, some with wire mesh trailers. On the motorway to the city the opposite lane, going south,  was like rush hour. Hunter convoys,  mad keen to get started,  getting to where they needed to be.
  Coming back on Sunday night, 11pm, the deer disturbed by two days of mayhem. Route 219 was sniper alley. A classic Western New York moment as a huge animal, pale in the headlights, bolted out from the blackness and ran across in front of the car, a slam of brakes, hand on the horn, some choice language from the driver.  A philosophical shrug. If we'd taken off a few seconds earlier, if the plane had landed at a gate a few steps closer, if the shuttle bus to the airport carpark hadn't waited for more passengers,  if the temperature had been a few degrees higher and the car windscreen hadn't needed de-icing, if we'd reached that point in the road a hair's-breadth sooner.....
   After a few more bends, another, smaller deer.   But we got through unscathed.

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