NIMBY, of course, stands for “not in my back yard,” so BIMBY stands for “baby in my back yard.” This is the story of my Gravatar/Avatar/the baby deer. I did not copy that photo from National Geographic or some similar site. I actually took that picture with my very own camera (several pictures, actually).
Once upon a time, I lived in a house with a smallish yard and I was in charge of mowing the lawn. While the yard was not large, there was quite a steep drop-off in the backyard. Despite a self-propelled lawnmower, this hill combined with my natural wimpiness lead me to not mow as often as I should have. I tried pushing that mower up the hill, I tried dragging it up the hill backwards, I even tried mowing sideways until I couldn’t hold the mower steady any more. The city was actually pretty lax with the laws about lawn length (much less so than a housing association) but the lawn police started to get ancy when the grass got about six inches high. At about seven inches, I got a nice notification in my door that I had X number of days (usually four or five) to mow or face a heavy monetary penalty. Despite this, I often tried to cheat by only mowing the front lawn and assuming that would give me some more time to tackle the back. It usually worked.
The time of year I let the lawn go the longest was in spring. I stayed in denial for quite a few weeks that the grass was actually growing despite all evidence to the contrary. So one year I found a notification from the lawn police that I needed to get my mower in gear. I couldn’t even be too upset. The grass in the back was well over a foot tall. I pulled out my mower and got in gear. While getting near a tree in the back, I saw something brown and furry in the grass. Since the noise of the lawnmower didn’t seem to have any affect on the furry thing, my first thought was, “Oh, no, there’s a dead rabbit in the yard.” I turned off the mower and walked up to the furry thing. To my surprise, it was not a dead rabbit but a very alive and very young deer. The fawn was absolutely not moving, as they instinctively know not to do. Now, I knew there were deer in my neighborhood. I live only a mile or so away from a park system. I’d seen them grazing at twilight in my lawn and on other lawns. But I’d never seen a baby so young (BIMBY hardly looked bigger than my cat) and certainly not on my lawn.
I did the only thing I thought any sensible person would – I grabbed my camera and took a bunch of pictures. The fawn didn’t move. Then I called the local park service to figure out what to do. They said the mother probably left the fawn for the day; I should leave some grass around the fawn and call them back if it was still there after twenty-four hours. Apparently they had already gotten a lot of calls about baby deer being left alone in lawns. Their theory was that the coyotes were particularly prevalent in the parks, so the mother deer were leaving the fawns someplace safer – suburban lawns. They also said if the lawn police got mad, I could tell them the park service told me to leave the grass. So that’s what I did. BIMBY was out there the next morning, but gone that afternoon. I dragged out the mower and finished mowing. But BIMBY is still with me, as my Gravatar/Avatar. Why, you ask? Because it’s a reminder sometimes even mundane suburbia can hold some surprises.