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A Monday meander: A sad tale

Prayers and sunset light shining through them.

When I receive a gift I am acutely conscious of both the gift and the giver, and gratitude spreads through me. This gratitude coalesces into a wish to give something back. I long to please my giver, endow that generous benefactor with something that will offer comfort, nourishment, and delight equal to what I’ve received. When my benefactor is a place rather than a person, however, my role as recipient is less direct. I’m someone who has inadvertently stepped beneath a stream of beneficence not specifically intended for me but suddenly pouring all over me. If I wished to offer thanks, how would I do so? Does a place have consciousness, such that it can receive gratitude for what it has given just by being itself?

~ Trebbe Johnson

In light and shadow.

Beauty is the antidote to grief and despair, and it is the one sure thing I can bring to bear when I confront a place that has fallen on hard times.

~ Trebbe Johnson

The quotes are from a wonderful article that was originally published in Orion Magazine and recently shared by DailyGood.org.  You can find the article here.

Saturday’s moon. (A double exposure.)

I went out for a walk last Tuesday about an hour before sunset.  My feet took me over to the pond where a Great Blue Heron was fishing for his dinner.  He flew off as soon as I got near the pond, squawking in that obnoxious way that herons squawk.  They always sound pissed off, as if to say, “How dare you interrupt me while I’m here?”

A Great Blue Heron. (Taken in October. You can tell because the grasses are still green. They’re brown now.)

I sat down on the bench by the pond, settling in to meditate or just sit and be which is, I suppose, the same as meditating.  It was low tide.  We’ve been having very low tides lately, good for mudlarking if you’re into such things.  As I sat there looking straight across the water, I noticed something odd or out of place in the mud on the bank.  I had my camera with me, big lens on, so I zoomed in to see what was there.  I think I noticed the movement about the same time that I saw what it was.  A young buck was lying there, weaving his head around, trying to look at me.  It didn’t register at first that he might be sick although I did think it weird that he was napping by the pond.

Hovering above the trees.

I took several photos and it was in doing that I realized he could barely lift his head to look at me.  No wonder he hadn’t run off.  I’ll show you the least sad of the photos I took (it’s sad, but not as sad as some of the others):

Young buck.

I called M over.  He was out and about with the wheelbarrow doing the gods know what.  Moving things from here to there, presumably.  We agreed that there was something wrong.  M got our binoculars, had a good look at the buck, and called the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  There are a couple of diseases that white-tailed deer can get that are worrisome, including Chronic Wasting Disease (which is the deer version of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE — or Mad Cow Disease).  They are worrisome not because we could catch it from the deer (we could if we ate it, I suppose), but because it can run through the deer population.

Wade, from the DNR, suggested we shoot the deer as a form of mercy/euthanasia.  Unfortunately, we do not have ammunition for our gun.  M went to buy some just before the election and the stores were sold out.  We could have called our neighbor, Lloyd, and asked him to do it, but we were not entirely sure the deer wouldn’t recover.  In hindsight, I think we were being overly optimistic, wanting him to recover.  We decided to wait until morning.

Sika deer bones we found while hiking on Assateague Island.

On Wednesday morning, we found that he had died.  M sent a text off to DNR Wade who had indicated the day before that he would like to come and get a sample from the deer if/when he died to determine what had made him sick.  Wade showed up here about an hour later.  M was at work so I got the honor of going out with Wade to show him where the buck was and to discuss what I had seen in terms of his behavior.  It was high tide and I was afraid we might not be able to find the deer.  High tide, like low tide, has been more than usual.  We got lucky and Wade spotted the deer’s antlers sticking out of the water.  Wade got in, grabbed the antlers, and hauled the buck out of the water.  He saw right away that the deer had been wounded.  He thinks it was from an arrow that grazed him.  Why anyone would go after a buck that young was the question of the day, but Wade speculated that it was probably from the youth hunt that took place about two weeks ago.  (Side note:  Every time I hear “youth hunt,” I wonder if they’re hunting human youth.  Heh.)  The youth hunt is, of course, a time for those under the age of 18 to go hunting, and it’s likely some young person didn’t take into consideration the age of the deer either out of excitement or just wanting to have a successful hunt.

Note:  I am not exactly against hunting.  Many people here put much-needed food on their table that way.  Probably more so now that so many are unemployed or underemployed due to the pandemic.  There are some, too, who donate the meat to a local food bank.  Hunting, it seems to me, is a better choice than factory farming animals whose lives are miserable and whose keepers don’t seem to have much regard for the feelings or intelligence of the animals.  That said, I find it equally cruel to injure an animal and not follow up.  To give the benefit of the doubt, it’s possible whoever shot at it didn’t know they had grazed it.  Or didn’t know to follow up, if it happened during a youth hunt.  Hopefully they teach the young hunters better than that, but I don’t know.

Flowers for the young buck.

The wound was infected and Wade said it was the infection that killed the deer.  The reason the buck came to the pond, maybe, was to try to bring down his fever.  I asked what we should do with his body.  Wade offered to drag the deer out to the middle of the trees, hiding it so we wouldn’t have to see him.  I told him I’d like to leave him where the vultures and eagles would find him right away.  Since that was the case, he pulled the deer about 10 feet up towards the tree line of what I call the New Woods (I used to call it the Future Woods but the trees are pretty tall now).  He said that should be a good spot.  I’m not sure if it is or not.  The crows showed up first the following day.  Then a few turkey vultures followed.  I thought they’d be out there for a while, but there has been no sign of them except for flyovers and circling in the air.  I’m not sure why.  I have not walked over to the area where the deer is since Wade pulled him out of the water.  M passed by there yesterday and said it’s looking pretty gruesome.

A moment.

I sat with the buck for a while on Tuesday evening when he was still alive.  I stayed across the pond, on the bench, because I didn’t want to frighten him anymore than he might already be frightened.  I would like to have offered some sort of consolation  or comfort, but didn’t know how to do so without making it worse for him.  So, I sat and watched for a while.  Bearing witness, I suppose, if you want to go in that direction.  When I left at sunset, I cried for a while.  After Wade left on Wednesday, I really cried.  For a long while.  In that outpouring of grief for the deer, there was all the grief from this year.  Maybe from all the years.  I had no idea I was carrying so much of it within my body and my heart.  It was immensely cleansing, immensely healing, and the question came up:  Do I hoard feelings in the same way I hoard other things?

I think I might.  My hoarding of things is fairly limited (books and photos, for the most part).  I see echoes of my mother in the way I sometimes let certain things pile up.  It’s always interesting, maybe a little comforting, to find those commonalities.  Although I was in my early 50’s when my mother died, I feel like I never really got to know her.  Circumstances made that difficult.  From the time I married, I lived Away, usually quite a distance away.  I didn’t have the opportunity to live nearby and visit with her often.  So, if I want to get to know her a little better, sometimes I turn towards myself.

Casting a wide web.

Since I am on the subject of hoarding, sort of, let’s move on to the decluttering and cleaning project.  Over the weekend I spent quite a bit of time decluttering my email.  I’ve often heard people who use Gmail say that they archive all of their email because there is plenty of space.  I’m here to tell you that isn’t true.  You CAN use up your Gmail space.  I am still at 89% used and will continue to declutter by deleting.  Even with a lot left to deal with, I feel better already when I check my email.  There was not only deleting to do, but a great deal of unsubscribing.  I hope this will make things more manageable.

On the garden gate.

It’s rainy and windy here today.  There are gale warnings and tornado watches in effect.  The storm is coming from the south so there’s warmth to it (our highs will be near 70°F) for now.  The cold will follow.  It looks like some will get snow from the front.  I’m a little envious.  I’d rather have snow than rain, especially when it’s cold.

A programming note:  Frank and I will be collaborating again over at his place.  The post is scheduled to be published on Saturday, December 5.  I’ll post a link here on Saturday after it’s published.

A darkening sunset.

Thank you so much for visiting and joining me on another meander.  My photos were all over the place today.  That reflects how I’m feeling — a little scattered.  I’m still sorting through photos that sat in the camera waiting for space on the computer.  I really will get to the horses, eventually.  I don’t think we’ll see much at sunset today, but if you’d like to meet me out at the Point, it’s scheduled for 4:43 PM.  The rain and wind won’t keep me away, but if there’s thunder, lightning, or a tornado watch/warning in effect, I won’t go.  It should still be fairly warm.  I’d suggest a light jacket (or rain coat) and boots.

Please be safe, be well, and be kind.  ♥

Zooming in.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,626)  Wade from the DNR.  He was very helpful, on a number of fronts.  1,627)  The feathered clean-up crew (crows, turkey vultures, and bald eagles).  1,628)  Putting up the solstice tree yesterday.  We put it on the deck where we can see it from the living room.  The wind knocked it over this morning, but we were expecting that.  We’ll put it back up tomorrow or whenever the blustery winds move out to sea.  1,629)  Shifting.  Something has shifted lately.  I’m not sure what, but it has and I think it’s for the better.  Even so, I suspect the next few weeks are going to be hard for a lot of people.  1,630)  Watching the branches of the trees sway and dance as the wind blows through.  Some of the trees still have leaves on them and the leaves are swaying and dancing, too.

Long season.

Author:

Robin is...

34 thoughts on “A Monday meander: A sad tale

  1. Oh, this is so sad. I hope he didn’t suffer too much, though I imagine he must have been in pain. I’m glad you tried to sit with him. I once watch a crow die (when that crow disease was killing so many), and I wanted to comfort him.
    I understand, too, about grieving over everything this year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Merril. I hope he didn’t suffer too much, either. I remember when the crows were dying (West Nile disease, I think?). I’m glad you sat with the crow and I think you offered him some comfort by just being there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Herons do always sound so annoyed when they depart.
    The deer’s story is terribly sad. Bad enough if it had been wasting disease (which they are watching for like crazy in this stage also.) But to have been shot/injured and left to suffer. Youth or not, no excuse for injuring a deer then just not bothering to track it and either help/report wound or finish the pain. Inexcusable.
    (We don’t hunt, but know herd management is preferable to starvation due to over population. Haven’t eaten deer burgers in a long time.)
    I am glad you sat bearing witness. All life matters

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We don’t hunt, either, PhilosopherMouse. I often wish there were some natural predators here to help with the deer population. We could certainly use a few coyotes. But I can just imagine the clamor of introducing coyotes or wolves to the area. The hunters and farmers would be up in arms (literally).

      I agree with you — it’s inexcusable. We might have found the culprit but there’s no way to be sure until we talk with him. While out on a bike ride, we noticed a deer blind at the edge of and on our property. My husband talked with the neighbor whose property is next to ours. The neighbor said a teenager set up out there a couple of weeks ago, and that he can’t hunt worth a damn (the neighbor’s words, not mine). Apparently he shoots at whatever moves, not waiting to see what else will be coming along. We haven’t been able to catch the teenager out there so we can talk with him. Among other things, he should have asked permission to put the blind there AND there is the concern that one of us might get shot wandering around our property if he’s shooting at whatever moves. Hopefully we’ll be able to have a good chat with him soon. My husband used to hunt with his grandfather, long ago, and at least can come from a place of knowledge (whereas I know nothing about hunting, having never done so). It’s a shame the NRA went from teaching this kind of stuff that was useful (gun safety, hunting safety, etc.) to politics.

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  3. Thank you for bearing witness to this precious being. This story is sad, but also contains threads of hope and respect for human & non-human connection. Just showed Barry the pic of the young buck. Now he’s sad, too. Blessings to all who suffer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kathy. I’m sorry it made Barry sad, too. 😦 I hope that we humans do try to find more respect and connection with the other-than-human beings we share the planet with.

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  4. So much here in this post. First, I love your image titled “In light and shadow,” is that fabric or a plant? Second…oh I cried about the deer too. I would have been just like you, wanting to provide some comfort but not sure how. This week there have been so many dogs that have crossed the bridge, some unexpectedly, I’ve been crying a lot as I look at my girl and think of them. And the piece about your mom, being in your 50s and not knowing her, I have similar feelings there too. I guess, if you really think about it, the only way we can truly every understand anyone else is by considering ourselves. Anyway. Hugs. I hope this week is easier for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dawn. 🙂 That’s fabric (some Tibetan prayer flags I have hanging out back — I think we need all the prayers we can get). Losing one of our furry family members is so hard on the heart. I wonder, sometimes, how we even manage to find and adopt another after the death of the first. But we do. They capture our hearts, don’t they?
      Maybe we’re not meant to know our mothers or fathers very well, except through ourselves.

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  5. A sad end to young buck, poor thing. At least he will live on in the bodies of his scavengers. That recycling of life makes sense to me and gives a bit of comfort. Nature knows what to do, always.
    Regarding your tears, I’ve been wondering where mine are this year. I’ve been numb– ‘keeping calm and carrying on’ whilst all this craziness goes on in our world… perhaps I’m afraid to let go for fear that I’d never stop! I expect all I’d need is a catalyst like you experienced.
    I hope you are right about a shift towards the better – we really need it. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Eliza. I was feeling rather numb, too, up until the death of the buck. I kept thinking about a similar fear — that if I let go, I’d never stop. Fortunately, that turned out to be untrue. Letting the tears flow helped immensely, and may be why I felt something shift.
      I agree with you about the recycling of life. I am relieved to find that the clean-up crew has finally decided to do their job (lots of crows and vultures out there this morning), and like the idea that the deer will live on in the bodies of his scavengers. He deserves at least that much.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A very sad tale. Sigh. I am going to come right out and say it: I am always glad when hunting season ends. I hate the idea of people with guns stalking deer in the woods behind our house. Your storm blew into Maine, I think. Lots of wind and rain and power outages. So far,car still have ours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad when hunting season ends, too, Laurie. I try to be practical about it all because the herd of deer we have visiting our property really is getting too big. With no natural predators out there to cull the herd, there won’t be enough food for them eventually. We also have the issue of Lyme disease to contend with so it’s important we keep them away from the house and nearby gardens. That’s harder to do when their food supplies in the wild dwindle. In the winter, that’s not so bad because the ticks are not out during the winter months. But if we allow the deer nearby in the winter, they will take advantage during the warmer months as well. All of that said, I am extremely unhappy with who I think might have shot this deer. It’s a teenager who doesn’t know what he’s doing and that’s very worrisome because he put his deer blind on the edge of and on part of our property. I’m told he’s been shooting at whatever moves, not waiting for a good shot. He could end up shooting one of us, if we’re not careful. My husband is hoping to catch him out there so he can talk to him, but no luck so far. Maybe he gave up. I hope so.

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  7. I loved your story and i love what it did to me – the reminder that it is holy to just be present and bear witness. A whole wood nearby has recently been chopped down. I am going to sit there and bear witness and maybe sing to it. And there is the knowing too – that now the sun is free to pour all the way down and nourish new trees and plants. Blessings on your head, Robin

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Leelah. It’s not always easy to bear witness, but I think more of us need to do it. It might help change things if we did. I love that you’re going to sing to the are where the trees have been chopped down. I do that, too. 🙂

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  8. Robin, this is such a sad story about the deer. I hate to think of any living creature suffering needlessly (and I refuse to think how long this poor young’un might have been in pain). No wonder you were in tears — that’s probably Nature’s way of purging all the misery from this past year). I’m glad you found somebody compassionate from the DNR to take care of things. Thanks for not sharing the icky photos with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, Debbie. I do try to avoid the icky when I’m posting photos unless they prove some kind of point. In this case, it wouldn’t have. The story was enough. It was needless suffering, and I think that’s what hurts most of all. Thank you for being so kindhearted. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Robin, what a poignant post. I am so very sad about the deer. The culture in part of my family is to kill them for food. None among them has to have it as they can afford to eat other meats, if indeed meat is what they have to eat. Yet, the sport that engage is expensive and is so very hard to embrace. I find it very sad – always – when a gentle deer is killed. I feel that those who “teach” youth to kill – for whatever reason they teach it – need to do their very best to educate. These animals suffer…like so many, and we have certainly adapted stories for generations which feed a narrative (about conservation) that this isn’t true. That adds to the deep sadness for me. I appreciate that you all did the very best you could, under the circumstances. 🙏 May his passing have been peaceful and without suffering. Thank you for your reverence for life. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Carrie. ❤ I find it sad, too and always, when a gentle deer is killed. As I mentioned to Laurie when I replied to her comment above, we have a dilemma here with the deer because of the lack of natural predators. Nature provided that balance long ago, and humans took it away. Long story, short, we’d be so much better off if people would just allow Mother Nature to do the balancing as she intended.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I cried, too, Robin, when I read this yesterday. Poor deer. I’m sure the energy from your presence helped him endure his suffering. It was kind of you to stay awhile and perhaps he passed peacefully right after you left. 💙 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Just got around to reading this, so sad for the deer. Of all the awfulness in 2020, this last week has been particularly bad. A friend (my age) died suddenly on W from a brain bleed and a friend in his early 50s died for a heart attack yesterday. It is so difficult being unable to hug people and comfort in person. Take care, thank you for your wonderful writing. Love to you both.

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    1. Jane, I’m so sorry. 😦 It is terrible not to be able to hug and comfort people in person, or to even attend memorials or funerals in some cases. Love to you, too. We’ll call you soon. ❤

      Like

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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