An elegant deer took a few tentative steps onto the two-lane highway, looking here and there, ears shifting around, gathering information, assessing how and when to make her journey to the other side. I stopped in the middle of the road and turned on the blinking hazard lights to alert other drivers. I held my breath while prayers whispered in my heart, yearnings for the deer’s safe passage.
These mountain lands are Deer’s natural terrain, a place where her ancestors have resided for many generations, migrating in rhythm with the seasons. Cars, trucks, highways, pavement, engines and toxic fumes are not organic in this deer’s world, not natural in the web life, not organic even to us humans, including me, sitting there in my car in the middle of the road during my Summer Solstice quest. How Deer have learned to navigate endless miles of pavement criss-crossing through the land, and the ever-present dangers of vehicles and traffic, is quite ingenious, rather miraculous, to me.
I watched the grace of Deer’s movement as she walked by, so intent to make her way into the lush meadow just beyond. Then I noticed the inspiration keeping this deer so purposefully on the move. She was a mama. And her Little One, the tiniest baby deer I’ve ever seen, barely reached to the height of her mama’s knees. The baby deer likely had been birthed earlier that morning, maybe some place nearby in the dark of the night. Already the Little One was walking on all fours, trotting along, staying close as possible to her mama.
I slowly pulled my car over to the side of the road and stopped the idling engine. I wanted Mama and Baby to have ample space to make their way with as minimal human intrusion as possible. Mama Deer trotted down a grassy slope and hopped over a fence. The fence stretched on for miles, far beyond what my eyes could see. Four lines of barbed wire were strung with mathematical precision in between each of the weathered wood posts.
The baby deer walked right into a string of barbed wire nailed in place just a few inches above the ground. The Little One collapsed, stopped abruptly in her tracks. She sank into the grass. Was her tender newborn body hurt? Could she still walk? Could she find her way through that barrier? Her mama waited and watched, standing vigil on the other side.
Fences would not exist if not for humans. Do we really need so many? What are we trying to keep out? What do we think we’re containing inside? Like the wall constructed at this country’s border, like the walls we build around our hearts, we interrupt and harm the natural, essential expressions of life itself in ways much deeper and wider than we dare to feel and see.
Boundless creativity and genius live in the minds and spirits and hearts of humans. So how else – beside fences and walls and militarized borders – can we protect what we cherish and hold close what we love without desecrating the web of life, without harming the bodies and spirits and hearts of so many?
I quietly stepped out of my car while notions of rescue swirled through my mind. Maybe I could pick up the Little One and set her on the ground on the other side of the fence. Would this panic the baby and mama? Would my proximity and touch generate too much distress?
Then the teeny tiny deer gathered her little self up, found her footing again, stood on her spindly newborn legs, and gracefully, boldly, hopped over the wire. Mama and Little One paused, touching nose to nose, a grand and loving reunion. Then Mama Deer continued on, leading the way deeper into the lush green meadow with the Little One instinctively following along close behind.
Have a look…