All the world's a stage
I was teaching a writing course in a town in mid-coast Maine. The school where I teach put me up in this house as part of the deal. It’s a wonderful house, with a forever-sloping lawn that ends at woods that have tall birch trees whose leaves flutter in the wind and stir the heart. The house has many windows, and two decks. From one of them, I saw three deer early yesterday morning as they walked easily across the vast lawn. They entered, one by one, with enough pauses between entrances to make it seem choreographed. Then they were all there. One was a fawn, with the classic, ahh-inspiring white spots.
The adults, stately, alert, paused, bent their heads and went at the grass for a time. None of them had antlers, so I assumed they were females, but perhaps one or two was a juvenile male. I don’t know enough about deer to be sure.
I was standing stock-still on the deck looking down, but they raised their heads at moments and looked my way. They seemed to know it was a human up there. It could have been my loud checked pajamas I was wearing that alerted them. They kept their eyes focused on me, and, after a minute or so, decided I was something to be wary of and trotted off into the woods. The fawn, feigning bravery, lingered for a few seconds, but, seeing the adults gone, suddenly reverted to helpless child and dashed urgently after them, leaving just empty lawn.
It always amazes me that this animal, a deer, so common in the northeast, can make me feel surprised and elated, as if I’ve just seen an African gazelle or impala. But it does.
There is something perfect about a deer, beyond the perfection any animal embodies. It’s coat—at least the coats of these deer—is sleek, smooth and tan, without a flaw. It’s face is sloping, delicate and graceful, like a ballerina’s profile. In fact everything about those animals was balletic. They were like a small dance troupe that wandered across the stage, the lawn, in complete possession of the moment, paused to give me a glimpse of their trim bodies in action, and exited.
It wasn’t even 7am.
Yes, it was a privilege!
The longer I stay in the city, the more I marvel at deer when I have a chance to see them.