Posted by: Kiersten | February 12, 2010

Dogs & Deer

 The day I got the word of my new job, the dogs & I went back to Fletchers.

The sky was rolling, but the rain held off.  The waves curled gracefully over the sandbars and on to the beach.

The dogs LOVE Fletchers, a beach the size of a football field, all soft sand that’s kind on the toes and just begs creatures with four legs to sprint.

 

Back in town, the deer are showing themselves again, and many are heavily pregnant:

 

The heavy rains poured when the sun set, but the deer were still out and about.  As I backed the car out of the driveway I was startled by two deer suddenly bunched up against the front bumper, eyes wide and glaring, ears swiveling, jaws grinding in alarm and legs stiff with anxiety.  I watched in awe as a low, dog-like form slid out from the shadows of our neighbour’s fence.  He had a huge, straight, bushy tail and for a moment I thought he was a fox – but then I realized he was as large as Mocha, his limbs thicker and furrier than a fox, his shoulders muscular and hunched.  He did not chase the deer as a dog does, he was stalking them.  He crossed the road and slid into the shadows of the bushes. 

Our first wolf sighting.  Awesome.

It’s unusual to see a wolf right in town, but they’re known to swim across the harbour from the reservation, which would explain why he was in our back yard.  Maybe he was a loner, a young male newly ejected from the pack, maybe he was taking advantage of the heavy slowness of the pregnant does, or the vulnerability of the newborn fawns. 

Despite the dark and the predators, the deer were out in full force last night, hungrily feasting on the spring growth at the side of the road, or nestled down in the soft garden beds. 

Last night was the first social night for queer women, and we had seven women turn out – yay!  There was food and music and some getting-to-know-you talk.  It turns out that Kat & I are no longer the newest gay girls in town – another woman arrived last month.

Another first this week:  I ate my first crab, right from the shell.  And my first mussels too.  Kat & I drove to Tofino to have a celebratory I-got-a-job dinner at Shelter, lovely higher end restaurant that features local seafood.

Behold, my half crab:

 

One thing about eating sea food – you often participate in the butchery process.  The mussels were presented, steaming an swollen like little pink tongues in the open mouth of their shell.  “Just close your eyes and chew” I said to myself, and when I did – MMMMM!

Mussels are so yummy!  They’re a lot like salmon, but juicier.  I LOVE mussels now.

The crab was something else – it looked like crab.  Legs intact, still attached to the skeleton, the shell with soft little hairs still attached.  As a meat-eater, you never see the fur from the cow or the feathers from the chicken, but here on my plate was the shell of the crab, looking exactly like the living creatures I’ve observed in gliding spider-like through the sea weed.  Here it is, on my plate.  Nothing to do but just grab a let and TWIST.

With a crunch the leg twisted free of it’s joint, and I applied the pliers to crack the shell of the leg.  Inside, white and fragrant, was the tantalizing flesh of the crab.   I speared it with my little fork, and it slid free of it’s shell.

Crab meat is so good.  It tastes like butter.  And they give you a little fondu burner of melted butter to dip it into, not that crab needs anything but itself. 

I just LOVE seafood.  Damn, do I live in the right place. 

We ate until we were full, and then we ate a little more.  Now that I know crab so good, I will have no problem steeling myself to stab the first crab I catch right between the eyes. 

Eating crab right out of the shell is an intimate food experience.  There’s no separation between ocean and plate.  As I cracked open the crab legs and dug out the meat, I thought that I must be meant to eat it.  How can something taste this good if it were not meant to be eaten?

I wonder how the deer taste to the wolf, whether he tastes the same thing we would taste.  Maybe it’s more a more intense flavour to him – so much of taste is smell, and canids experience a whole world of scent unknown to us.  We like to think of predators driven to hunt by hunger, but I think they’re driven more by flavour.  Fresh deer, right off the bone.  Fresh crab, right from the shell.

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