Joann Rose Leonard, deer

For today’s post, I am deeply grateful to Joann Rose Leonard, author of the haunting and highly recommended novel, The Healer of Fox Hollow.



“I know this sounds silly,” I said. “But tomorrow I’m doing a workshop in a rural school. And I’m worried about driving a brown car through the woods in deer season.”


“Just don’t wear antlers,” my husband replied.


The next morning, a white sign was taped to the car’s antenna. PERSON. DON’T SHOOT!


It was raining as I headed south on I-99. A cold, steady, late November rain. Still miles from my exit to the hunter-filled woods, I was lulled by the rhythmic swoosh of windshield wipers and the hypnotic red and white lights mirroring from the slick asphalt.


Suddenly a brown blur hurdled from the far side of the highway. The bounding doe slipped on the wet macadam and skidded on her flank across busy lanes. Flat on her side, she came to a stop directly in the path of my fast approaching headlights. With cars in front and to the side of me there was nowhere to veer. No way out. That’s when I felt it. The sharp stab pressuring through my flesh, driving to bone. Skin ripping off curves that fit in and around those I love.


Then, an instant before impact, the thrashing deer righted itself, leaped across the highway and disappeared into the trees on the side of the road. For the longest time, I couldn’t stop shaking. Two animals colliding with death. How swiftly it came, how unexpected. And a reprieve…at least for the time being.