There are many beautiful animals you are likely never to chance upon. Take the tiger. Unless you traveled to India, southeast Asia, or Siberia - with serious intention - you would never catch a glimpse of one in the wild. Add endangered to that mix, and your only real hope for a spotting would be standing three people and two strollers deep at a city zoo.
All it not lost however. There are other magnificent animals, like the deer, that hang out in so many different kinds of ecosystems that your chances are good for seeing one in it’s natural habitat. Just hopefully not through your windshield.
To see one of the leggy, well proportioned animals out in a thick forest, in the mountains, on the savanna, or in your garden (just hopefully not nibbling away at your plants) is one of nature’s calls to be still. Alert but daring, deer stand close enough to be admired so long as you keep your end of bargain by staying quiet. It’s hard to imagine any deer being mean. They even come across as an animal that wouldn’t smell.
Whether foraging or passing through there is something graceful and effortless in a deer’s movements. So serene they make our daily work by comparison look like a motorcyclist revving up their engine at a stop light.
If it’s not you, something else will soon startle the deer, and so the posture of stillness is never really that long. But it’s enough. And while you’re sorry to see it go, it is something to watch a deer run and jump as if there were no physical barriers between it and the world.
No fence is too high, no terrain too rough for it to fully accelerate once it’s decided to take that first step. It reminds you of the ancient wisdom that says we too can be agile and make progress upon the high places.
Now that we have a house in the French countryside, we see enough deer in our own yard to consider it routine. I still like to see them but admittedly I don’t always stop what I’m doing to watch them anymore.
My husband, on the other hand, still does. Every single time, And every time he sees one, you’d think it was the first time. He flickers with the excitement of an 8 year old boy, quietly motioning to whoever is nearby to gather an audience. He exchanges texts and photos with his Mom. His delight in them is never-ending and it’s adorable. It's the way delight should be. It never dims.
And while it’s corny, and I am clumsy, sometimes not nice and nothing like a deer, he gives me that same level of attentiveness every single day. Like each day with me is another potential day for delight.
Today is our 27th wedding anniversary. My husband is in London and I’m in France. I’ll be on the lookout. Happy anniversary, my dear.