I’ve seen her around for a few weeks, at least. Snapped a photo or two earlier in the month, when it was clear that she was carrying at least one fawn in her swollen belly. And then I saw her again yesterday, nosing around the neighbor’s ivy, but now trim, svelte, without the bulging midsection that had so clearly marked her has pregnant in early May.
I mentioned it to my daughter, “I think there might be a new-born fawn somewhere nearby.” And this morning, while walking through the forest behind the house, I found her (or possibly him, it’s hard to tell). Her mother had stashed her in a safe cove where the last trees meet the meadow, just a few feet into the tall grass, and from her hiding spot she now peeked out at me, her first human.
For all her docile nature, a doe is a fierce mother and formidable opponent, with sharp hooves and a fighting spirit where her fawns are concerned. While the deer in my backyard might normally bolt away in fright when they catch sight or scent of me, I knew it wouldn’t end that way if the doe caught me this close to her baby. So, I took a moment to look around before I knelt down to capture this image. No doe in sight, but I’d have to be quick.
I took twenty images as fast as I could. Delightfully, the fawn, having no idea what I was, took a few tentative steps towards me, so the last few pictures are far better than the first ones. This is number nineteen of twenty.
I paused for a moment to consider her, not through the lens, but with my eyes alone. These eyes, so complex, built by a Creator for just this task. She, in her beauty, in her complexity, thoughtfully crafted, perfectly adapted, her spirit attuned to this meadow, this tall grass, this dappled sunlight. With her own eyes she considered me in return. She is beautiful, in and of herself, and requires no adornment to further enhance her perfection. The thought of the Creator who has thought her into existence permeates the whole of her being.
And then I rose to slip away, knowing that the doe was likely to be grazing nearby. As I stood, the fawn turned away, startled a bit by my sudden change in size. She bounded a few awkward steps into the tall grass, her camoflage blending perfectly into the meadow. As quickly and quietly as I could, I crept back towards the house, to leave a peaceful morning to itself and its own business.