Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tofuburger in Paradise


As you'll recall, after the World Fantasy Convention Marianne poured me into a candy-apple-red Jeep convertible (as required by state law) and drove me off into the wilds of California.

I, of course, have an East Coaster's natural suspicion of a place where total strangers smile at you and, worse, may not even have an ulterior motive for doing so. But after a while, you begin to think how pleasant it is to be in a place where November weather is like early September back home and frog-strangler rains are unheard-of.

Yesterday, we were driving about Marin County, looking at ravens and red-shouldered hawks and Western meadowlarks and the like. From high atop the cliffs of Point Reyes, we saw not only sea lions but harbor seals as well -- a lifetime first for me. Then, inland, we'd stopped in the middle of nowhere so Marianne could identify a bird she'd spotted, and we saw otters frolicking (there's no other word for it) in Walker Creek.

And I thought . . . I thought . . . . Well, I thought that it might be nice to live someplace as nice as this.

But then I was saved. By a sign. It read:


First of all, I thought, there's a name for "baby deer" -- fawns. Secondly, fawns do not form communal age-based crossing groups. They stick with their mothers. So, really, what we have here is a deer crossing. And, finally, deer are not a fragile and endangered species to be cherished and preserved. They're an environmental blight. Rats with antlers. The Devil's Own Smurfs!

So the soft and lovely fogs of California have not rotted my character to the point where I can't return home. Thank God.

Well, and hoping you are the same,



Oz said...

In theory, I totally agree with your comment and hesitation regarding CA. And I agree that deer are scuzzy and need to be seriously thinned. Witness the Lyme contracted by my husband while innocently trimming weeds a year or so ago, courtesy of a member of our scuzzy herd.

But I shall pick a bone with you about one thing. Deer do not necessarily stick with their mothers. I will grant you that stay-at-home does may well have their fawn in tow. But there is an alternative arrangement that many does take advantage of: the daycare deer.

I kid you not. Here on Walkabout Farm we frequently see one long-suffering doe with seven or eight fawns under her care. And no sign of other does. They are no doubt off at the movies or getting their hooves done. And the daycare doe, not being terribly well compensated, does seem to lose track of one or two. So it's just slightly possible that a 'baby deer' might be crossing alone because I have yet to see the daycare doe using the rope typically employed by human daycare providers when the children are not properly corralled.

I have it on good authority that cows also arrange daycare.


David Stone said...

Maybe they thought that traditional buck-with-horns deer crossing signs might attract wicked steel phallus-wielding trophy deer hunters to the area?

Michael Swanwick said...

Okay, I begin to see why all these deer have congregated in California.

But people who are terrified of hunters -- real hunters, I mean -- have never met one. These guys make Thoreau look like an asphalt-loving skyscraper-hugger. We're talking deep mystic connection with nature there.

And I speak as a non-hunter myself.