|Photo by Matt Perry from the Spring Farm CARES Nature Sanctuary|
Today I was out running 6 of our dogs in a big fenced-in field. Outside the fence, on the other side of an adjoining field, were 3 deer, a doe and her twins, now full grown themselves. They were a fair distance away but the dogs saw them right away and ran to the fence barking at them. Surprisingly, the deer didn’t run into the woods but stood and watched them. They know us and our dogs as they see us out here every day. And they know the dogs are contained within the fence but still, I wondered why this doe wouldn’t be teaching her kids to be weary of people and dogs. It is now hunting season and as I watched the 3 of them lazily graze in a field they knew to be safe to them, I was concerned for their safety and thought to myself about their life and what matters to them. Do they understand its hunting season? Do they worry about that? Or do they just carry on and live each day? Why are they trusting me and the dogs?
I called the dogs from the fence and we proceeded to the opposite side of the field as far away from them as I could get so that they could live in peace. They remained grazing and our dogs eventually focused on other things. As I walked around the field, my awareness was drawn back to the deer and I was surprised to see that the doe was staring directly at me and walking towards the fence. “Come let me meet you,” she said to me. I turned and even though I knew this would invite the dogs to come with me, I was mesmerized by her forwardness and obvious mission to come closer, and like a magnet, I found myself walking towards her as she continued towards me. We both strode purposefully toward one another. It felt like old friends, neighbors, meeting in our yards to say hello and reminisce about this beautiful fall day. Nothing else existed in the world at the moment, just the deer and me, meeting at the fence line. Her two kids followed her with equal trust. She stopped about 25 ft. short of the fence, and I stopped about the same distance on my side. And there we all stood looking at one another. It was then that I noticed that the dogs were awfully quiet. I briefly turned to find them sitting, watching, about 20 feet behind me, just watching.
The doe was so relaxed and her trust of this situation struck me as being wrong. What if I were a hunter? She shouldn’t trust people like this. But before I could warn her of all things bad in the world, she spoke to me deep within my heart.
“You see, I came to show you what matters to me. You asked, I’m answering. This matters. You matter. Who you are matters to me. It matters so much to me that I trust my life with that knowing. Not all humans are dangerous to me. You certainly are not and I am certain of that or I wouldn’t have come closer and called you to me. What am I teaching my children you ask? I am teaching them about what matters most in life. That feeling another’s heart will never give you wrong information. That their feelings are their life blood and they can trust that just as I have. I am showing them and teaching them about the ultimate trust in relationships. You are a fine human but this is a lesson you yourself don’t trust. You have not been taught to trust your heart and know when its safe to do so. I wanted to show you this and tell you that I indeed know what matters most in my life. This moment matters. You matter. Who you are deep inside matters to me as I walk this field. Because you are who you are, I can stand here safely. We can meet across a fence that is between us but does not separate our worlds at all. This is what matters. Trust what your heart shows you my friend and you will find all that matters to you is right there for you to find. Thank you for your concern. Thank you for caring about me and I hope I showed you today that I care about you. We will each walk away now having known one another and we will carry this experience forward into the next field and onward. And we will each know what matters in this moment. May you find peace in your heart. Your gentleness precedes you and has touched us today on our path. You matter to me and now I matter to you.”
This moment seemed to last forever but was actually very brief. I could hear her breathe, not snorting out of fear, but a deep breath of satisfaction. And slowly, she turned, and the 3 of them calmly walked away. “Be safe,” I sent her from my heart.
“You too,” she replied as the three of them walked back into the woods and continued on their way.