I’m a city girl. My exposure to farms and rural living is confined to some school trips and watching Green Acres. It’s part of the reason I wanted to come to Cornell – to be out of the city in a place with lots of trees, grass, and open space. I wanted to get out of the city grid.
I’ve been here for 3.5 years now and I still think it was a great decision. I’ve learned so much about the world outside of cities – I’ve met a girl whose family sells their cows’ milk to Wegman’s. I’ve learned that there are different types of twine for baling hay. I’ve learned that baling hay is something that people actually do, not just for autumn decorations. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t let your cats out in the yard at night because the coyotes might eat them. YES. COYOTES. Despite all of this though, it’s pretty safe to say I’m still a city girl. I just happen have the added bonus of knowing a decent amount of trivia about rural living.
Which brings me to today…
I was out and about around Ithaca enjoying the gorgeous (note, not gorges) 38Âº weather (seriously, it was like the middle of spring!) and trying to get some shots for my next Psych of Visual Communications assignment. Since it was less snowy out, I thought I would venture to the Plantations paths. I didn’t have the right shoes on (this seems to be a habit of mine), but since the snow was starting to melt I didn’t think it would be a big deal. My first stop was the start of the Liberty Hyde Bailey loop behind Warren Hall. It’s one of my favorite spots on campus. I take pictures there at least 5x/year.
So I’m minding my own business. It’s a Sunday on campus and no one is around. I’m just wandering the paths behind Warren, stopping here or there to take a shot or two, nothing out of the ordinary. Again, I found myself standing about 5″ from a tree branch trying to get a photo, but hey, I’m used to my status as the weird girl taking photos of branches by now. After photographing this one particular branch for about 5 min (I was trying to get droplet photos of the snow melting off of the pine tree), I decided to call it quits and head back to my car.
I’m walking along the path toward my car, looking at the miscellaneous shrubbery to my left and right, still looking for letters and numbers even though I don’t need them anymore, you know, the usual. Then I looked up. I swear to you, no more than 15′ from me was a baby deer just munching away on some brush. FIFTEEN FEET. I stopped dead in my tracks and tried to be as calm as possible. I slowly raised my camera to my eye and fired off a few shots. Unfortunately, though, I’d had my wide angle on, set to f/22 and a really crappy ISO (it was part of the assignment to take photos with bad settings so we’d learn the difference), so my equipment really wasn’t set up for a random encounter like this. I reached behind me into my camera bag to get a different lens and slowly switched to the 17-135, the longest lens I had with me. I managed to fire off two more shots before the deer started to move away. I made some noise to try to get its attention, after all, taking a photo of a deer’s butt isn’t all that attractive. He wasn’t up for a photo shoot though and ran away.
That’s when I realized I wasn’t alone. He ran straight to his mother, and a rather large mother at that. At this point I may have uttered a few expletives under my voice and looked toward the path I needed to take to get back to my car. I would have to pass this presumably quite angry pair of deer. Remember, I’m a city girl. The first thing I thought of was “oh crap, what if this deer comes out and charges at me? No one even knows I’m here. I’m going to die. I’m going to be killed by a deer. Just great. And no one will find me until Monday morning. Just lovely.” So I stood there for a minute and weighed my options. I could continue on the path I was going, get closer to the deer, perhaps get a few more shots, perhaps have an imprint of a hoof permanently stamped into my forehead OR I could turn around, go back towards the back door of Warren, hope that it’s open and that the deer doesn’t charge when I turn my back, and cut through the building back to my car. I, obviously, chose the latter.
I got back to my car safe and sound and lived to photograph another day. I just chalk it up as another Ithaca experience. I move to have this added to the list of 161 things to do before you graduate.
Oh, and as evidence that I’m not completely making this up, a photo, of course: