The other day as I was driving out of Anderson, traveling west and north toward the mountains, a deer ran across the road far in front of my car and jumped what seemed to be a six-foot fence. The fence must have been topped with barbed wire because her under-belly caught, the snag tipped her forward, and she barely caught traction with her front hoofs to correct her balance…all without halting her pace. By the time my car got up even with where she had crossed, the air was filled with fluff as if someone have blown a giant dandelion pod. She was probably hurt.
I don’t think her injuries were serious but from what I’ve heard, an injured wild animal will find a quiet, safe place and lie perfectly still until her wounds have healed. I want to think she took the time to lick her wounds, to clean and soothe them, and found a comfortable position to lie in for her long wait.
I have thought about my deer many times since that late afternoon.
Late last summer, I spent a week and a half in the hospital because I had taken too much medicine in an attempt to sleep. I had not slept well for months and was desperate. My week and a half in the hospital was like my deer’s lying perfectly still. In fact, for the first 5 days, I did little else but sleep. Injured wild animals will not get up to eat or drink. I, on the other hand, did get up to do both, took medicine, and did as I was told. Mostly, however, I slept.
Over the remaining 5 days, I added some quiet reflecting on my life.
I wonder if wild animals think while they are healing. Is my deer thinking, “next time I will do things differently; I will jump higher; I will find a space with no barbed wire; I will go around; I will use the gate;” etc.? (No doubt she is thinking that she will need to remember to teach her fawns not to make the same mistakes she has.)
I learned while in the hospital that, in the past, I have let people ‘derail me.’ Being mean, inconsiderate, or rude upset me a lot. But rather than get mad, I internalized it, and usually ended up depressed.
There have been times, over the years, that I have had to tell people (whether they were listening or not) that I love them but I will not let them hurt me anymore. A few essays back, I wrote about self-preservation, that there are ways of helping people without being ‘killed’ in the process. (My final point was, however, that you do still need to help people, just take care of yourself, too.)
I’m a bit off-course…
My move to Upstate South Carolina is another part of the healing process for me. If you have ventured into my other blogs written one to probably ten years ago, you may get a sense of the kind of healing I am doing. My haven, here at 5022, is my quiet place where I can lie still, safely. God protects me, as I am sure He is protecting my deer.
By the way, I borrowed that image of the happily running deer at the top of my essay. I retrieved it from the internet and if you look closely you will see to whom the credit should go. DO NOT do as I did and search for images of deer jumping fences. Many are very disturbing as some deer do not make it.