March 1, 2014

Growing up in Virginia, I have watched deer with reverence ever since I can remember. To see a deer made the day special whether we had just gone for a walk at Great Falls or driven to the Shenandoah Mountains for a hike near Big Meadow.  Now I feel sad when people only refer to deer as a nuisance to their gardens.  It can still take my breath away to see their gentle eyes, graceful legs, and sweetly-spotted babies.

The deer come when I need them.

Three deer came forth from the woods near our house the day that Stephen was diagnosed with cancer.  One looked up and our eyes locked.  It’s message seemed to be acknowledging how fragile life can be.

My first job as a reading teacher began with a five-deer sighting along the highway.  That affirmed, for me, an important shift in my life.  A new job, a new school, a new me.  Blessed by deer.

Once at twilight, years ago soon after my father died, I saw deer in the snow near the Little League fields.  I pulled into the parking lot to get a closer look.  I rolled down my window and was just watching and listening to the quiet when a police car pulled up behind me.  Apparently, I shouldn’t have been in the parking lot when it wasn’t baseball season.  I told the officer that I saw the deer and just wanted to enjoy the sight.  He said I had to move along.

Three deer grazed outside the hospital last Sunday morning at 5:30 a.m.  I had just spent seven hours with my daughter in the Emergency Room.  She was gravely ill from Dengue Fever contracted in Honduras.  The deer brought a bit a of beauty, a bit of calm, a bit of surprising joy.  Such a comfort.

The deer come when I need them.