On an unexpectedly cool afternoon, my brothers and I were biking over to a friend’s house. Crossing the creek, my brother exclaimed. “A deer! No, a coyote!”
We whirled around to get a better look at the creature. A gaunt yearling buck stood in the shallow water. Stomping its dainty foreleg, it glanced at us, but remained at the same spot. A small creature, with a melt-in-the-shadows coat, slipped from the trees and brush bordering the creek.
“A cat!” No. “A bobcat!” Breathless with excitement, we frantically tried to get a good look. Slowly padding onto the rocks, it crept closer to the deer. Circling the buck, it tried to keep its paws from getting wet. Skittishly prancing forward, the deer tried to dash for deeper water. The slimy rocks were as black ice and, without warning, it fell into a disgraceful heap.
One second. Two. Three.
Suspense charged the air. The bobcat did not pounce, and the deer scrambled to collect its legs. Silently, the cat vanished. The deer did not move; neither did we.
Finally, my brother suggested that one of us could stay on the bridge and two of us could sneak down. Feeling a bit uneasy, we decided to try it. A slight noise startled us. I continued on my way, edging across the large rocks. Another sound stirred the bushes. A bevy of ducks turned and, with a great deal of anxious muttering, headed for a less disturbing swimming pool. Feeling trapped and nervous, I climbed back and joined my brothers on the bridge. Finally, realizing it was getting late, we decided to go on our way and check back later.
Coasting to a stop, we scanned the creek. Like a permanent fixture, silently the deer stood at the same spot. Still no sign of the bobcat was to be found, though the deer seemed confident it was still there.
We hurried home and convinced Mom to drive us down so the others could see. Arriving on the scene, we found the buck bravely still holding his post in the water. What would happen to it? None of us knew. In the ensuing days, we saw no more of the bobcat, but neither did we see the deer. The buck was an example of keeping your wits in a tough situation.