I have no picture for you this evening. Instead I want to tell you a story, the story of a young deer I met on a recent run.
The morning was clear and sunny, humid but a good sweaty kind of humid, the kind that leaves a slight mist in the air and breathing is easy. I was near my turn around point, thinking hard about mundane things–grocery lists, wondering how Meghan was doing, smiling at Joey’s great moods when he comes home from school, the nature preserve I was going to try to find the next day–when a rustle sounded in the bushes off to my left. I glanced up, only to meet the liquid brown eyes of a young doe, nibbling her breakfast from some blackberry bushes.
The surroundings were beautiful. I had chosen our local lake for my run that day for a bit of new scenery. I had U2 singing to me, but I very slowly reached up and turned off my music, never breaking eye contact with the deer. The thought fleetingly crossed my mind that I wished I had my camera with me, but as the doe grew comfortable in my presence, I realized that I had no need for a camera, that some moments, especially this one, did not need to be photographed.
The mind is the camera.
I stood there and watched her for what seemed an hour, but in reality was merely three minutes. I watched her as she ambled down the side of the trail, just a few feet away from me, grazing on blackberry leaves, grass, tree leaves. Every now and then she would lift her head, curiously looking over at me, but never fearing me. The sunlight filtering down through the leaf canopy turned her brown coat into a coat of tawny gold, her hooves a shiny black. Her eyes were those of our Labrador retriever’s: trusting and kind.
She continued her breakfast till she decided that the patch of grass on the other side of the trail down from us looked better than what she had been eating. She cautiously put her hoof out onto the pavement, and shot me a nervous glance, suddenly remembering that I might do her harm. When she saw that I was frozen still, my wondering eyes as big as hers, she gently continued crossing the pathway. Midway across, she stopped, turned her head gracefully my way and looked at me.
The sun was full upon her now and it seemed as though she glowed. The look on her face was a mixture of curiosity, nervousness and wonder. And also, I think, a look of thankfulness for not scaring her like so many other people have. If a wild animal can say, “Thank you”, I think that was what she was saying.
Again, I wished for a camera, any kind of camera, but since I don’t run with my phone, I was at a loss. But then again, I was happy for being camera-less for this was just one of those moments that didn’t have to be captured by a click of a shutter.
The mind is the camera.
She finished crossing the trail, and dashed off into the woods. I still stood there, looking after her and thanking her for the gift she gave me, the gift of a memory. I will forever be grateful for the sight of her, forever be grateful for the chance He gave me to be witness to something that peaceful and golden and beautiful.