A few mornings ago, Win and I went to our new favorite top-secret park for a walk, while my love slept off another late work night.
As we got out of our car-share Prius (yes, we are those kind of people), I noticed that a deer was standing at the edge of the woods, still as can be, watching at us…watching me.
Even when Win caught sight of her and began to bark wildly, she continued to stand there, her gaze calm and quiet; she was in no rush to go anywhere. In those few moments that felt like hours, I understood that this meeting was not by chance. She was there for a reason.
Why else—no—how else—is it possible that a deer could be in a park in the middle of a city? A big, metropolitan city?
For a brief second, I thought that perhaps she was a figment of my imagination—that maybe somehow I had summoned this totem vision of her to send myself a message—but slowly, with intent, she began to descend into the trees.
Her movement brought me back to the present moment and I realized that she was very real—and that despite the extreme magic of this sighting, there posed a very real danger for all three of us.
Recently, a dear (no pun intended) friend of mine, who lives in the country, told me the story of how after some months of sighting deer in the fields surrounding her home, she decided to try and make friends with them.
Over time, her gifts of apples and patience brought them closer to her, until one day, she was able to play her crystal singing bowl, almost completely surrounded by deer.
A magical, modern day Snow White moment, until the deer began to stomp their hooves and raise their tails, scaring the bejesus out of her.
Her fight or flight kicked in and she made her leave, calmly and safely. We ruminated for days after about what their dance meant, creating a long chain of email correspondence, full of deer behaviour facts we had unearthed on the interweb, adding our own creative interpretations.
This stomping and raised tails could have been a good thing…or very, very bad one.
With this in the back of my mind, as Win and I started to walk closer to the path, all of us moving at a turtle’s pace (save the dog, who was yanking at his leash madly, eager to be freed to explore this new creature that could be a horse—or a cow—but was certainly not a cat), never once did our gaze waver.
Eventually, she disappeared from my sight.
Win and I continued on our walk and it was some time before I let him off of his leash, free now to chase squirrels and run amok in our saving-grace, blessing of park space, with nary a soul in sight. Adventuredog on the loose, happy as can be, the deer sighting already faded from his memory…but she was—and still is—very alive in mine.
My heart leaps in my chest as I write this—her beauty is still with me and her message, I am still deciphering. Maybe she wanted to remind me to be gentle, kind and loving with myself, or maybe it was a call from the wild…from Mother Nature, herself.
Editor: Kate Bartolotta
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