Little Red Deer by Sara Wright

At the forest edge

  twigs rustle,

papery leaves

betray

a vision of grace

  emerging

from behind

my chair.

Staring intently

liquid coals

will me

to turn…

You nibble

a few grasses

at my feet

without fear.

We meet

on pine strewn paths

or when I trim

 cherry or rose

plucking old thorns.

At dawn you stand

outside my window.

I encounter you on

the road.

You must be following me

 for a reason.

Between us,

Kinship exists,

 a mystical bond

not bound

by time –

a silvery thread

woven between

species in gold –

Your choice

not mine.

Too thin –

almost gaunt

from hunger?

Do I imagine

Deep Longing?

Our bond

a fragrant flower

 bone

to bone.

You dined

 on my anemones

nibbled

sweet honeysuckle

lilies too.

If

sharing flowers

with you

helps those

ribs to recede,

then take

what you need.

Please!

Friendships

are scarce –

vanish

without reason

in a field

of dreams.

 I treasure

this meeting

of soul and body

burnished red skin

your peaceful

countenance,

  ears that listen.

We are present

for each other

in that place

beneath words.

I wonder if

you mourn

  lost forest

 as I do –

or is it a dead

fawn that

was taken

from you?

Either way

Peace abounds

when we share

field and stream

 trees bearing fruit

 in this

finite oasis,

Our Beloved

Home.

Commentary:

Interspecies communication is not new. Indigenous peoples have been engaged in this process for millennia. It is only recently that western culture has dismissed this bond between animals, plants, and the rest of nature as absurd, irrational, sentimental etc.

Science is making it clear that humans are only one species on an earth that thrives on communication as well as cooperation. No one is saying that competition doesn’t exist in nature, but science (at least new science – not the old patriarchal materialistic paradigm) is saying that overall, cooperation is the norm.

When we live close to nature as I do we are in a better position perhaps to experience that deep level of communication and relationship with other species because these animals and plants and trees are an intrinsic element of our backyards… However, it is my belief that anyone, city person or country person is capable of connecting with other species in meaningful ways if they choose to do so. Perhaps a city person might have a relationship with a cat, or one tomato plant. The important thing is to open oneself to the possibility that we have something to learn from every species we encounter.

This means that we insist upon putting the truth that lives in our bodies first, and not allowing patriarchy to destroy what we have always known in our bones. No small challenge, especially since we are routinely educated out of this inner knowing. Some of us don’t even know we have it.

Just now, I have this red deer that is living right here at the house at the edge of the forest. My two little dogs wag their tails as they greet her outside the window every morning! She has no fear of them either.

I don’t know what this deer is telling me just yet. The older I get the more patient I become. I no longer turn immediately to natural history or mythology for possible explanations, but instead choose to sit with my unknowing allowing meaning to unfold in its own time.

 Writing poems or prose about another species seems to activate my unconscious and the mystic in curious ways.

 I have come to rely on this method for eventual insight on a personal and collective level, while participating in the actual ongoing experience.

BIO: Sara Wright is a naturalist, ethologist (a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Maine.



Categories: Earth-based spirituality, General, Poetry

Tags: , , , ,

5 replies

  1. A beautiful poem! It reminds me of an experience I had a few years ago. I used to walk to work through an area that bordered on woods where deer lived. One day I encountered a deer on the sidewalk just looking at me. We looked at each other for a few moments before the deer walked away. The next day, the deer was back on the sidewalk, seeming as if it was waiting for me, but with a companion. The following day, the deer was back again with several others, all of whom looked at me, then walked away. I felt as if I were being introduced to the family! Being with them, if only for a few moments, left me feeling deeply peaceful and in harmony with the natural world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think your experience Carolyn is one of the ways nature attempts to get our attention – to help us “see that we ARE part of a greater whole. That sense of interconnection – of peace is like no other – and in my experience there is usually a personal aspect too…here’s an example – A deranged neighbor finally moved out after 19 years and I wrote a story about this horrible experience and what I learned publishing it on my blog… when I disturbed the toads I was so busy apologizing and re -covering their home as well as inhaling the sweet scent of debris becoming soil that I never thought about this odd experience. There were three GIANT black toads – the blackest toads I have ever seen though of course they do change color to adapt to their surroundings – but these were SO black…. this morning i checked my blog and more than 250 people had read that one ugly story…oI love toads but also know that collectively becoming or being a toad can be seen as a negative thing… Suddenly I GOT IT – uncovering the toads not animals BUT HUMANS by writing that story…. nature is always communicating …

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely poem, Sara. I love this: “The older I get the more patient I become. I no longer turn immediately to natural history or mythology for possible explanations, but instead choose to sit with my unknowing allowing meaning to unfold in its own time.” Sitting with unknowing is something that doesn’t come easily for me. I’m convinced that’s essential for human growth towards wisdom. Thank you for this essay.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gosh Esther I wish I had gotten this piece earlier in my life – sometimes I think our search for meaning gets in the way of letting truths emerge in their own time. Sitting with unknowing activates my anxiety on so many levels – so I can really identify with you… this lack of trust is life long and I continue to struggle with it BUT I am learning… Thank you for this salient comment.

    Liked by 1 person

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