A Little Island You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
Some of my family members live on Lummi, a lush island off the coast of Washington State. Every time I visit, we walk the beach at least once a day. We always try to make it down for low tide. That’s the best time to find agates and seashells, the best time to peer into tidal pools to see what they reveal.
No Palm Trees Here
Of course, we’re not talking tropical style beaches with palm trees and pale sand. This is the Pacific Northwest, folks. We’re talking a different kind of beauty. This is the region that spawned sparkly vampires a la Twilight, not bikini-clad “Baywatch” style romps.
While it’s common to see deer hoofprints in the sand, we don’t often see deer at the beach. Even when we do, they are usually off in the distance. On the day I snapped these photos, however, my family and I were joined by a male deer.
Surprise at the Beach
Much to our surprise, the young buck walked right up to us – to me – in fact. Perhaps I looked like someone who feeds him apples, I really don’t know, but it was disconcerting. Not only did he approach me, but he seemed to want his head scratched. I gave him a little rub, as if he were a goat, and that seemed to satisfy him.
As benign as the encounter seemed, I carefully backed away. Much to my relief, the young buck continued his stroll down the beach without us. We all agreed that someone on the island must be feeding him, otherwise he would not have been so casual around us.
Stalked by a Deer
On our walk home, we ran into the same deer. And yes, we could tell it was him because of that wonky right antler of his that bent down at a strange angle. This time, he was standing in the driveway of The Willows Inn, a swanky hotel and restaurant that has put Lummi Island on the map thanks to reviews in prestigious culinary magazines. I hear that the food there is excellent, but my my family can’t afford to eat there even though they live just around the corner. (To put it in perspective, The Willows Inn is the type of place that someone like Martha Stewart or Sting can afford.)
Chuck the Buck
As we stood there joking about how the male deer had beat us to the top of the hill, a passing car rolled down its window and a woman hollered, “I see you’ve met Chuck the Buck.” She went on to explain that the deer we’d met at the beach had grown up in her backyard, that her family fed him by hand, and that he liked to have his head scratched. So there you go, mystery solved!