"Deer Encounter," pencil sketch

A few mornings ago, I woke up early to try and include meditation in my morning routine (instead of fitting it in sometime later in the day), and had an unexpected experience.

Deer are one of my Spirit Animals, and I am fortunate to live in the country, so I see them around – usually while driving to and from town – once a week or so. However, it’s unusual to see them close to the house. The morning before this, I was surprised to see one at the beginning of the path out to the pond where I leave my Faerie offerings. Then the next day, I saw three of them – two does and a fawn – grazing in the larger part of our yard.

I usually meditate on our screened-in porch, which is near where I spotted them. I decided to chance it, not wishing to scare them but hoping to be near them in that safe atmosphere, since I would still be separated from them by the screens. They had actually wandered off by the time I sat down, but I heard them come back a few minutes into my meditation. All seemed to be going well.

Then, of course, I sneezed.

I kept focusing on my breathing and didn’t open my eyes, but I could hear them moving more, and one of them making loud snorfling noises a bit further away, as if summoning the others. I did actually choose to look over at that, and couldn’t see them because of the shrubbery around the porch. So I quieted myself again and finished my meditation, then stood, and peeked around that shrubbery, just in case.

The fawn was there, slightly aside from and behind one of the does, who was much closer to me than expected – maybe 7 feet away at most. The doe was clearly standing her ground and not taking any of my nonsense. She stared me down, continuing to snort at me, stomping her back left hoof. Completely unafraid.

To be completely honest, part of my was taken aback by this. I selfishly want them to love me and trust me as I do them. But I want to focus here on the inspiration I saw in that mother deer. I feel like a lot of the time deer get a very passive rap – they are graceful and swift, and startle easy, so as symbols (at least in the mainstream) I’ve more often than not seen them portrayed as a weaker, flight-not-fight type of character/creature. Especially the doe. But that wasn’t what I saw that morning – I saw a fierce soul defending herself and her loved ones from something unknown, no matter what that something was.

I hope I do not forget that look in her eyes and the knowledge this experience has given me. And as such, above is a sketch inspired by that moment, what I saw in her and what I wish I had portrayed back.