Stop the Treadmill!

Do you ever feel like you’re running on a treadmill with the speed set too high?

by Cherie Langlois
One of the black-tailed deer that enjoy spending time in Cherie's yard
Photo by Cherie Langlois

Do you ever feel like you’re running on a treadmill with the speed set too high?  One without a big red “stop” button, so you’re stuck there, knowing you’ll fall off the back if you slow down (highly embarrassing, even if you don’t get hurt), but too scared of what might happen if you jump off, so you just keep running, exhausted and out of breath?

(By the way, before I joined an athletic club this winter, I’d never run on a treadmill before, and so I didn’t know how terrifying they can be when you accidentally punch in a super-high speed.  And this one did have a red “stop” button, thank goodness!).   

Anyway, I’m sure you know the feeling.  And yes, it’s been one of those weeks. 

So this morning I’m dashing around on auto-pilot feeding the menagerie, trying to get everything done fast because the treadmill has sped up again, thanks to our horse Toby choosing this week to have his first-ever hoof abscess, with no concern whatsoever for the articles I have due or the mountain of dishes waiting to be washed or the fact that I’m dead-tired of running.

And then, lugging a bucket of warm water out to the horses, I see them:  two lovely Black-tailed deer reclining in the far pasture, their big ears flicking as they ruminate—the very picture of serenity. 

That’s when it hits me that this self-imposed treadmill I’m on does, in fact, have a red button.  So I push it.

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The deer clear the fence with ease when they leave
Photo by Cherie Langlois

I stop and watch the two does, which don’t do much but ruminate and groom themselves, and after a bit, arise and pick their way delicately across the pasture to nibble blackberries.  Belatedly, I think of my camera and return to the house to fetch it, then spend the next fifteen minutes trying to sneak closer to the pair so they’ll actually look like deer in the photos, and not small gray blobs with spindly appendages. 

Every time they look up, ears swiveling in my direction, I freeze like in a game of Red Light, Green Light.  Then I move closer when they start browsing again.  Eventually, the deer realize something is fishy here (or human-y?) and trot to the fence near our woodlot, leaping it with such effortless grace I catch my breath.

Finishing my chores, back on the treadmill again—but at a saner pace, I revel in the way this wild discovery has changed the whole feel of my morning.  I’m happier, calmer and more in control of this day.

Right now, I know there’s a stop button and I’m not afraid to push it.

~  Cherie        

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