We live in a much bigger town than we used to, with two competing chain clinics and a hospital. I was too poor by far to go to either of them (until the state expanded their Medicare coverage), so I started going to this little poor-people clinic about 30 miles to the west. I love it, they love me, I still go there. And then there’s the added attraction of a City, another 40 miles on. So we head west out of town on a frequent basis.

The highway runs fairly straight east-west (as much as a road can when it’s laid down outside of the flatlands), and up and down hills and valleys and across slopes. Quite a few are south-facing, creating little pockets of warmth where the snow melts off. One particular slope is tucked back into a hill with a creek at the bottom, but something else must have gone on there this winter, because there have been deer! lots of deer! grazing, all facing away from the road. (We call it Deer Butt Hill.) I can only count up to seven, what with the driving and the speed and the curve, but Daughter has counted up to fifteen. The highway department even went so far as to put up deer crossing signs on sawhorses about a quarter-mile either side of the area.

And, you know – deer and highway, life and death. I was surprised by the eagle starting up out of the ditch and flying alongside my car for about two seconds (that big yellow eye and those wings!), but not that there was an eagle there, scavenging. But the last time I went by, there were only three deer, hanging around in the pines at the top of the hill, heads up, cautious. And three eagles, sitting in a tree across the road, watching.

You might get an easy ride sometimes, but only for a little while. Then it’s time to move on.

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