Words for Wednesday: oh, deer!

Home, home on rural land, where the deer and the antelope stand….okay, no antelope. Wrong part of the nation for that. But we do have a plethora of deer and an assortment of other wildlife that traverse through our property out here in the country.

Critters of all kinds use our 2.4 acre yard as a bi-way from one wooded area to another. Our “wildlife refuge” has included bear, wild turkeys, quail, skunks, raccoons, groundhogs, rabbits, red fox, opossum, birds of all kinds, even a turtle, and of course, white-tailed deer. Lots of deer.

In just one year’s time, two have met their end via vehicle on the road in front of our house. When hit, those unlucky creatures flew through the air and landed dead on arrival in our yard. You haven’t lived until you walk to your mailbox and find a dead deer lying beside it.

Mostly, the deer run through our yard on their way elsewhere early in the morning or at night. Oh, we know they’ve stopped occasionally to chow down on our garden because we see their tracks all through it.  This summer, they found our strawberry plants way too delectable which is why Papa had to put a fence around it to keep them out.

Hardly ever though, do we actually see deer grazing in our yard especially in the middle of the afternoon. But last week, one brave, young doe decided to stop for snacks at our place.

After lunch, Papa left to finish some repairs at our daughter’s home, so I plunked myself down in our home office at the desktop to write a blog post.

After working busily and steadily, I needed a break so I ambled out to the kitchen to make myself a cup of hot tea. While filling the teakettle at the kitchen sink, I gazed out the window and spied her.

She was nibbling away at some bushes that produce some type of inedible-for-humans, red berries in our back yard. Just munching away and taking her good old time doing so. Unusual, especially for 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

I grabbed my camera and attempted a photo through a kitchen window because I didn’t want to scare her away. Taking a picture through not only glass but also a window screen did not satisfy me at all and the doe’s head was hidden by the bush as she plucked berries off there.

So I hurriedly stepped into some shoes (it was pretty cold outside), and slowly opened the French door leading to our backyard deck. She heard me, of course, but didn’t take off running. I was thoroughly surprised by that. Instead, she simply stopped eating and peered at me through the bush.

I stood stock still for a few seconds, and she commenced chowing down once more. I then quietly and slowly slipped out onto the deck and snapped a photo.

The click of my camera caused her to pause, then peek around the bush at me. I didn’t move. She didn’t move. We stood that way for a minute or so. But the lure of those berries, which must have been delicious, caused her to resume snacking.

Cautiously and ever so slowly, I moved towards the deck railing to try some closer shots. Again she heard the clicks and stared straight at me.  We engaged in a staring contest much like my kids used to do when they were young.

Who would blink first? Who would flinch first? Who would move first?

For a few seconds, we just watched each other. And then, in a soft quiet voice, I asked her “Are those berries good?” She never moved. She never flinched. She just kept watching me, curiosity causing her to stay.

I’ve never experienced that with a wild deer before. Why wasn’t she afraid of me? Usually, deer are so skittish, they dart away as soon as they spot a human. I’m not sure how long we both stood there keeping our eyes on one another.

Suddenly, the sound of a vehicle coming down our driveway broke our reverie.  Boom! Like a shot, she was off, dashing away as fast as her four spindly legs could carry her, back into the tree line that separates our property from the farmer’s field behind us.

I can’t help wondering what her fate will be. Will she meet her end from a vehicle or from the blast of a rifle or a piercing of an arrow during deer hunting season?

Whatever transpires, she gave me a pleasant, little gift that day. A moment of tranquility amidst the noise of the world’s craziness right now.

That little doe feasting on berries in my yard made me smile, provided a moment of delight, something I truly needed.

In this November month of Thanksgiving, I consider the blessings – yes, I will count them one by one – that God bestows on us even in circumstances that are trying and difficult. And I count that little doe visit as one of them.

It reminded me, as always, how grateful I am to live here in the country – in rural land, in what some folks call “fly over land.” I wouldn’t trade it for any other place because I can find happiness right in my own back yard.

“I don’t have to take a trip around the world or be on a yacht in the Mediterranean to have happiness. I can find it in the little things, like looking out into my backyard and seeing deer in the fields.” ~ Queen Latifah

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