As the kids and I rummaged around for blackberries at the forests edge, the lovely Mrs. Deer and family passed us by to rummage around for apples laid out for them at the edge of our yard. We (Mrs. Deer and I) often find ourselves peacefully existing side by side like this. A beautiful bond has been forged between us as we have now shared a home together for nearly two years. What a long way we have come.
When I first discovered her she was chasing off her yearling. I had never witnessed such a thing. It was heartbreaking. The two ran around, and around my home, the yearling calling out for her, desperate for her to stop and just except her back in…but she did not. The next morning I walked out into my yard to find Mrs. Deer cleaning her brand new fawn. Seeing her nurture this little one made my heart soften to her a bit as I once thought her own heart hard…and uncaring. Nature had demanded her to send her first born off on her own. This year that same fawn…now a yearling…Was chased in the same manner as the yearling before…but he would not go. His unshaken determination reminded me of my own children. Mrs. Deer finally relented as she was soon to give birth to twins.
The yearling still follows them…at an approved distance. As I watched out of my window one afternoon I saw the whole family eating away around my garden. After a few moments of chomping on the compost pile the yearling decides to go for my cherry tomato plant. I ran out of the house clapping loudly warning him to move away. He then issued me a warning (the bratty little teenager;). Before I could react Mrs. Deer charged him chasing him out of the yard. She then went back to my garden and looked at me as if to say “Boys will be boys.”. It was then that I realized how incredible this “friendship” between Mrs. Deer and I had become. Not only are we sharing a home and a life here in the woods…but we’re raising our children together…side by side.
Every year she watches my children get a little stronger, a little more adventurous and a little more independent. Sometimes I wonder what she thinks of the job that I am doing. I think she is a wonderful mother. She is protective, loving, and ever present. I could see why her own children have such a hard time leaving her side…but she understands…even more then I…that there is a greater reason for instilling, strength, adventure and independence into our offspring. We must prepare our young for what the “forest” will bring…because soon enough…they will be walking in it alone. I am so grateful for my deer friend…and all the many lessons she has (obliviously I’m sure;) passed onto me. What a privilege to be a part of her world!