Death appears to surround us.
Sometime early yesterday morning, a white-tailed doe chose our orchard as the site of her Calvary. Betty awoke, looked out her window, and came to report a deceased deer a-next the Asian Pear.
I investigated, in the driving rain. Yep, no question about it. Rigor mortis had set in, the crows were conversing in salivating tones, buzzards were circling overhead, and flies were buzzing, as they will. Something must be done.
I called Animal Control. They were closed (it being Sunday), but their recorded message said to call the Sheriff's Office in case of an emergency. I did not judge this to be exactly an emergency, but called anyway. The man who answered, while kind, was not inclined to jump into his prowler and race over to help. Had the deer died on a public road, he said, the Virginia Department of Transportation would send a crew to remove it, but if on private land, there was not much he could do. We are a couple of hundred yards from a public road. His recommendation was to remove the carcass to some spot remote from the house, and let nature take its course.
I contemplated dragging the thing to the road, abandoning it there, and calling VDOT, but dismissed it as an affront to the neighbors. It might take days for VDOT to respond, and in the meantime, I'd have placed an Extremely Stinky Thing within nose-shot of three other households. No, the only polite thing was to follow the good Sheriff's advice.
We maintain a clearing in the southern quadrant for the kind of yard-waste that can't be composted -- tree-wrack, out-of-date Christmas trees, what have you -- and this is far enough away from the house that (I fervently hope) the stink won't waft here. I got out the tractor-mower, clapped a length of chain to its axle (easier said than done) and the other end to the deer's hind leg, and off we went. The dragging, while undignified for the deceased, was easy enough. She wasn't particularly heavy.
I left her there, with a blessing and a... Can we atheists be said to pray? Whatever it was, I tried to be as respectful as I could under the circumstances. I don't anticipate going back there until her bones are bleached dry.
And the goddamned dogs know their boundaries. Or at least, they'd better. Or there'll be hell to pay.