WE’VE RETREATED to this spot in the Western North Carolina mountains for five years now, and this is the first time we’ve been here at the peak of leaf season. Every view takes your breath, and as the sun moves across the sky, each scene is constantly changing. It has proven a real struggle as this is a busy time of work for me, lots of planning for our Riggs Partners clients, CreateAthon hot up ahead. I’ve done my best to stay focused but good lord the mountains do call, and the oaks and the birch trees and the maples, and the crisp autumn air and the goldenrod.
Just yesterday I came back to the studio for one more work session. It was after six and later than I would typically be up here. As I approached the corner desk where my computer sits, just out the sliding doors I noticed a sweet little doe* standing on the hill just beyond. Her eyes were dead on me and she stood frozen, watching.
I, too, stopped, sure any movement would send her fast into the woods.
But she didn’t move. She didn’t blink. She just stared. She stayed and stared as if she were here for a reason, as if she’d come for me. As if she were here to get me. Finally I reached for the door’s handle, and slowly, gently as I could, pulled it to open. She stayed right there until the dang thing (inevitably) made a quick scrape across the metal threshold. Then she turned and headed into the woods.
She didn’t leap, though. She walked, rather casually, her white tail disappearing into the brush. I could still hear her, though, and so I stepped out onto the low deck and moved closer to its rail.
That’s when I happened to look ’round the corner and there in the side meadow stood her companion. Another deer staring me down, not moving, waiting waiting waiting for the little one to join.
And sure enough there she came, right back out of the woods, right down the path in front of me.
We had several long moments of communion, those deer and I, before they eventually lost interest and began to meander through the meadow. Still every now and then one or the other or both would stop and look back at me, those large, beautiful eyes imploring.
I, on the other hand, did not lose interest. I did run out of time, though, two-thirds of my allotted hour gone and me having accomplished not one thing on my long list of work To-Dos.
ALL OF WHICH is to say this place, this time, this gorgeous golden light of autumn is insisting itself to me in way right now that feels important. Significant. Nourishing, somehow. It insists itself in a way that makes me think of the bears roaming this mountain in search of acorns and nuts and grubs and seeds, getting their fill, preparing for the cold winter to come. Preparing for hibernation.
Come outside, the deer seemed to say, come play among the golden trees.
And let the beauty fill you up, let your soul sing. Let it sing with all the earth
its song of loudest praise.
*the author has exactly no experience identifying a young deer, doe vs buck