an antler for Ramona
Monday, March 18 2013
When I went to the mailbox today, I just happened to see a deer antler in the ditch along the south side of Dug Hill Road. I've been alive for 45 years and spent much of that time roaming forests thick with deer, yet this was the first time in my life I'd ever found a deer antler entirely on my own. (I've found skulls with attached antlers, and a year ago I saw Eleanor running around with an antler she'd found, but I'd never found one.) The thing about antlers is that they look a lot like sticks, and it's hard for the human brain to resolve them in a normal forest environment. I brought the antler back with me and gave it to Ramona, using it to replace one of Gretchen's slippers. (Ramona likes to carry the slippers with her to wherever she wants to sleep, though at this point she rarely chews them.) She eventually started chewing on it, though it proved remarkably resiliant. Hours later, it looked pretty much the same as it had, having suffered only modest erosion at the antler tips and at the place where it had snapped free from the deer's skull. If one is into humane chew toys, one can't do much better than a wild deer antler. The deer that put that chew-toy into Ramona's life is still out there somewhere doing its thing, not having suffered at all from giving up the part of its body that Ramona was now chewing on.
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