I found myself saying to someone the other day that deer are terrorists. We giggled. But it’s kind of true. Right before that conversation, my husband and I had spent several hours putting up a deer fence to protect the sorry remains of our vegetable garden, after deer had decimated much of it and made it clear that they would continue without mercy until nothing was left.

The fence was a success, but they retaliated by destroying our ornamental plants in one brutal overnight session:

Ground with deer evidence

I am always aware that human gardens have value to humans that is completely unrelated to their function within the ecosystem. So my being upset about my pretty hostas is a purely private affair. (Likewise the urge to learn how to use a 12-gauge.) But there is an argument to be made that there really are too many deer; they’re unchecked by non-human predators and they put pressure on native plants.

There is the idea of balance and the idea of constant flux; there is the idea of human dominance and the idea of human undeserving; there is the idea that mountain lions are extinct here in Virginia, and there is another idea that they actually aren’t. There are a lot of ideas in the woods, my hostas being one of them, my vegetables being another, my deer fence being still another. Ideas growing into each other and nibbling on each other’s tender parts.

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