There Is a Deer Before Me

Michael - Lafayette, Indiana
Entered on October 12, 2005
Age Group: 30 - 50
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Before me lies the reddish-brown and white body of a white tail deer.

Moments before, as it was moving in front of me, I could easily see her constant vigilance to detect and foresee a threat that might endanger her survival. I know as I stand over her that she no longer looks for a threat. Her eyes see past me and are looking at God. I am reminded by her stare that I will one day see past this world; that I will be part of the feast of life and no longer sit at the table.

Each fall I suspend my humanly ways to give back to nature that which we have forgotten: Our place. I have been and always will be a hunter. It has taken me a lifetime to understand what that means. We all live and work with a goal or purpose to better ourselves and our family. We strive to do more, be more, get more. But at times, it seems these humanly defined social goals, or purpose, seems very empty and hollow. The more is never filled and the goal never truly attained.

So we perpetuate this working for more to fill this void. It was through hunting that I discovered a stark, honest relationship with my surroundings that revealed a truly profound purpose. It was not planned. I found this feeling to be extremely spiritual in nearly every aspect. It seems to bring the greatest weight of responsibility and accountability I have ever known. That more comes at a great cost to my surroundings, as I can see before me now. I experience a profound sadness for the life I take and extreme joy when my family, wife and two daughters, rejoice over the game I bring home.

I am a bow hunter, with two sticks and a string I attempt to overcome the will of a whitetail deer to survive. With great patience I am successful and the meat sustains us through the winter and sometimes, with God’s blessing, the summer. There is plenty meat in our super markets and as I watch the passive hunters secure their meals wrapped in cellophane, I wonder if they could ever imagine what the act of hunting could mean.

I have a constant daydream: There is a deer before me, just out of bow range, looking at me. Slowly the field fills with deer, all hauntingly familiar to me. They come to me and I leave my bow and arrows and we run. I no longer bear the guilt of a predator and they are no longer afraid. The release of the weight brings me to tears.

As I return from my dream I know my purpose, feelings and dreams are as old as God’s plan. This I Believe.