A couple of mornings ago as the first light of a Pacific Northwest summer dawn filtered into my bedroom about 4:30 a.m., I, by chance, opened my drapes slightly to imbibe the beauty of the natural world for a moment before men and their infernal machines of alteration, destruction, and change coughed into life.
In the surreal half-light of dawn--those moments when the monochromatic gray of night slips away quietly before a gently greening polychromatic band of light from the east--I found myself only a few feet from a magnificent young mule deer buck (Odocoileus hemionus) that was sauntering nonchalantly through the backyard with a sense of dignity, poise, and self-assurance denied most members of my species.
The young buck's velvety spring antlers had few points. He was definitely a yearling--one likely born in the spring of 2009. I don't think he was aware of his human admirer. His pace did not change as he sniffed the air and ground occasionally and walked through the yard, up a bank, and behind a large conifer to disappear from my view.
The sense of pure and uncomplicated presence with the Source--the unambiguous clarity of purpose and confidence in that purpose--conveyed by the young deer overwhelmed me. I felt I had witnessed for a fleeting moment a vignette of the original dawn--the First Day, as it were.
The visage of that young buck and the object lessons implicit in his dignity, bearing and grace have remained with me.
Though he is unlikely to survive the 2010 deer hunting season here, he is not troubled.
He does not ruminate about the future or the past, so-called. He lives in the eternal now. His connection with his Source is direct and unfettered by the baggage of the human mind--the "what if’s"--the endlessly recounted story of a worrisome past, a troubling present, and an uncertain future--the anxieties that dog the best of men in their flushest times.
The young mule deer that blessed my recent dawn is infinitely closer to God, Love, the Source, than any priest, potentate, or misguided deer hunter of the human species.
And his salvation--his ultimate return to the Light and Love from which he emanated--is infinitely more assured than is that of the man who, even now, cleans his deer rifle and dreams of an October morning when he mistakenly believes he will possess the power and right to destroy the life of this innocent expression of God.
Men who, in their present dismal state of limited spiritual development, believe themselves to derive satisfaction from sport hunting have, in my opinion, many hard lessons to learn over multiple subsequent life experiences here before they can approach the Light and Love that is and will always be the true abode of God's untroubled and harmless herbivores.
I am grateful for my recent dawn visitant.
D. Grant Haynes
"We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals.
We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err.
For the animal shall not be measured by man.
In a world older and more complete than ours they move, finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.
They are not brethren, they are not underlings, they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth."
Henry Beston -- The Outermost House