Steph and I were chatting while William, my black lab, bounded ahead and wove in and out of the trees. As we crested a hill, where an old logging road spurred off to the right, I saw a brown heap ahead. Steph said right away, "a deer." A dead deer. My heart accelerated and I made a small gasp. "Kind of creepy, huh?" Steph sensed my brewing anxiety. "Yah. Weird." I've seen so many dead deer, but they were harvested, to feed my family and friends, not dead on the side of a trail.
As I neared the deer, I couldn't tell if it was dead or not. Our eyes were playing tricks on us. "Is it breathing?"
"I think it's breathing." I took a step closer and could see its tongue, like purple leather, hanging out of its mouth. "Dead," I proclaimed. It almost looked like it was breathing still. Just to be sure, I tossed a piece of ice at it. Nothing. I ventured closer and put my hands on its belly. I was warm. Very warm. I shook it a little and it moved under my hands, unfrozen