Thursday, July 23, 2009
“Daddy, take us to see the invisible deer,” my children said.
“But I already have,” I said. “Can’t you see? They are all around us.”
“Stop joking,” they said. “Take us really.”
“But it was only yesterday that we saw the glass deer, and the day before that, the ice deer, and before that, the atomic deer, and last week, we went to see the memory deer and the deer that smolder in the grass.”
“We know, Daddy, but we are so bored and the invisible deer are special.”
“OK, my little pink deer with antlers that are pigtails. I’ll take you.”
We got in the car and drove behind the shopping mall. We parked at the very end of the parking lot, near a small thicket of trees. I waited a moment to turn the car off while we listened to the end of our favourite songs. Then we all climbed out. “Ready?” I said. “Ready,” they said. And we closed the four car doors together. We’d practiced this and we could do it with precision. There was a single sound as if we were closing one very large family-sized car door. “Now let’s look for deer,” I said.
Walking into the thicket was like walking into a building. It was cooler as if, like the mall, it was air conditioned, but it was a different, thicker air. It was darker, too. There was a kind of emptiness, a hush. Only the shadows and whispers of birds, the leaf-stirring sounds of squirrels and other small animals.
“Do you see them?” I whispered.
“Where, Daddy?” my children asked.
I pointed high into the branches of some trees beyond a small clearing.
“Daddy,” my youngest said. “You’re silly. Deer can’t fly. They can’t climb. They don’t own invisible ladders.”
“I have an invisible ladder,” I said. “Sometimes I climb into the clouds.”
“Why do you do that, Daddy?”
“So I can run my hands through the cloud material. So I can know what it will be like to be old,” I said.