The stag by the road

rock star the spotted horseI know that if you live in the country you see deer all the time, and even in LA you see them in the canyons sometimes, along with coyote, racoons, opposum and skunks… living alongside us in our finger-hold lives on this sometimes burning, sometimes shaking terrain.  But in my years in LA I’ve personally only seen one stag, and it was in the mist of dawn and it quickly bounded up into the brush of a canyon.

And maybe that’s why I can’t get the stag that I saw last week out of my head.  My wife and I were driving down Laurel Canyon Boulevard at 2:45 in the afternoon last Saturday when we looked over and saw antlers bounding down the sidewalk.  I tapped the brakes, afraid it might veer into the road, and at 35 miles per hour we were traveling side by side.  The car next to me also slowed in awe of the sight.  I kept anticipating that it would either turn into the street or go the other way into the yards of houses, but it just kept tearing down the sidewalk, approaching Ventura Boulevard.

A woman walking on the sidewalk leaped backwards with her arms in the air as a blur of hooves, fur and antlers seemed to miss her by sanct millimeters.  The stag and I kept alongside each other for four or five blocks, giving me a chance to appreciate its lithe form, its grace, the sheen of downy fur on its protruding young horns.  And then it turned a corner, off the danger of the main road and disappeared down a residential street.

The man in the car next to us looked over and we all gave a mutual shrug of “Can you believe that?!”  And my wife noticed that he had a tattoo of horns on his neck.  And then we went on with our urban lives… but I keep picturing that woman jumping back, like some sort of incongruous Norman Rockwell image.  I’m not really sure of my point in telling this story, but then that stag had no point—it just was… perhaps it was running away from danger, or trying to find safety.  Maybe some humans messed with its hiding place or its patterns.  Maybe it’s a symbol of something… a vestige of authentic wild nature in the midst of paved would-be order.

In any event, I dedicate today to the beauty and spirit of that stag… and to appreciating and remembering that we humans, in my case us Angelenos, are far from being “native” Anglenos—that we’re all renting, not owning, here on our planet.  Maybe animals like this magical stag will inspire and remind us to treat all our collective children, scared and displaced as they may sometimes be by forces bigger than them, with love and protective awe.

Namaste, Bruce



One Response to “The stag by the road”

  1. krk Says:

    I believe the four of you were meant to see that stag. Somehow it is a connection to each other and nature.
    Funny how life is.

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