The other day I saw a deer walking up a hill beside my bike trail. I've been here for decades and I never once saw a deer in the city. So I followed after it, pushing my bicycle up the trail.
But it had vanished in the woods. So I went on my way and sat by the fountain. Then on the way back I returned to the hidden trail through the woods.
And there the deer was again, resting quietly in the grove of trees on the grass, hidden and known only to me.
From a distance we watched each other. I tend to think of a deer in the middle of this city almost the same light as a unicorn. It was amazing to see - like a mystical creature.
But it made me sad thinking about what a difficult prospect it had ahead of it, and the conflict of living in a city full of cars and people.
I had already passed a local homeless person who I see all the time. And then yet another homeless person who sleeps by the trail in a sleeping bag. So that's three homeless beings making their way down the trail alone lost in the city.
It made me very sad to contemplate their future prospects - and to contemplate the general hopeless condition of any wild thing in the city.
So I turned around and quietly went home, grateful that I have a place to be my home.
A few hours later the thoughts started nagging me that I ought to go back and see if it was still there. So I did. I rode the trail over a bridge and hid my bike in the woods. With my camera I quietly walked back up the trail.
But now, where there had been a deer there was another homeless person fast asleep - hidden in the grove. It was as if the deer had transformed into a person almost.
I guess the nature of a wooded trail is that it's still partly wild - and belongs to no one. Wild animals can travel down it searching for a better place to be - and homeless wanderers can call it home for a short while.