GO train riders have always had their rituals. For some it’s parking in the same spot every morning, for some, riding in the same car every morning, for some, it’s the same seat every morning. For me, it’s the deer. Every morning and every evening my train passes a large field planted with a verdant green, low-growing crop – soy, I think, but I’m not sure. And every morning and every evening, if it’s not too dark, I look for the cabal of deer that hang out in that field, snacking on the tender leaves. There are usually five or six of them but, one lucky night, I caught a glimpse of at least a dozen if not more.
I’m sure the farmer who planted the field isn’t happy with his or her uninvited guests. Deer are the scourge of many a farmer and most spend a good amount of time and money keeping them away from their crops. For me, though, they’re like a talisman, especially in the evening. When we reach the station before the field – which is also the last one before my stop – I stop reading, or napping, or whatever I’m doing that ride, and stare out the window. The scenery rushes by, a blur of green as the train hurtles towards its destination. There is a moment of almost breathless anticipation as the trees give way to the lush, green field, and there they are, my deer. Sometimes some of them even look up as the train passes them by and, fancifully, I imagine they’re saying, “it’s all right, you’re almost there, you’re almost home”. It’s irrationally comforting. It only lasts a fraction of a minute and then we’re past the field and within a stone’s throw of my destination but, in that fraction of a minute, something within me loosens and settles, and for just a moment all is right in my world.