A Magazine about the Hudson Valley’s local economy, published by Hudson Valley Current.

Daddy Debrief – Deer Hearts

by David DeWitt

On a pre-homeschool walk up the road, Finn and I came upon a large splash of red on the pavement.

We both thought it was paint at first because it was so red. It trailed off to the opposite side of the road from where we were walking.

“It’s blood!!” Finn said suddenly “It’s got to be blood”.

I still wasn’t sure. The color was so bright and there was no animal nearby.

“There it is!” Finn said pointing.

About 10 yards off the road a deer had collapsed. We went to it. It was clearly dead, it’s eyes wide open and neck stretched back. Obviously hit by a car. A large wound on it’s hind quarters.

We stood just looking, Finn examining every inch of the deer not saying anything.

After a while we turned to continue on our walk and he was silent for a lot of it.

The mail carrier drove by which set him off on a whole line of questions about the mail.

Some distance later we stopped to watch horses in a nearby corral .

Behind us we heard movement in the woods and turned to see two does running through the woods towards the road where we had just been.

“They heard about the other deer,” Finn said.

A short while later we turned to head back home. When we reached the spot where the deer lay, he wanted to go back over to it.

The body was twitching slightly.

“Why is it moving? Are you sure it’s not alive.”

“I’m sure” I said.

We stood for another long while, mostly in silence.

“It’s sad, right?” he said. “The vultures will be happy. They have to eat. But it’s still sad right?

We walked home in silence. When we entered house he said. “I think we should draw something for the deer.”

“Ok” I said

“Yeah. We need to do something for her,” he said.

He got a small piece of paper, got his markers out and began drawing row after row of different colored hearts.

He didn’t speak for a while then I heard him say quietly, “That’s the best heart I’ve ever drawn” then continued on.

“What will you do with them when you’re through?” I asked.

“Hang them on the fridge,” he said, as though “Duh”.

“Oh right,” I said.

As he was finishing it up I said,
“Well, we better get to our school work, It’s almost lunch time and we haven’t even gotten to writing our alphabet today.We may not have time for everything now.”

“Well, that’s the beauty of homeschool, right?” he said.

I don’t know where he heard that.

But I think on that particular day I wasn’t the one teaching.