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The Deer In the Graveyard
There are no deer where I live. At least, I've never seen one in my neighborhood. But in Marin County, deer roam the hills freely and pop up in the oddest places.
One afternoon a full-sized doe and her baby hopped over the fence into my parents' backyard. My mother's reaction was delight: "Oh look! A mommy deer and her baby!" A young visitor to the house saw the duo slightly differently. Little Joey corrected her, "That's not his mother. That's his babysitter!"
Little Joey's in college now, but his babysitting deer story has become a classic in our family. It's been told around the dinner table for years.
One magic Christmas morning I looked out my parents' kitchen window to see a small herd of deer clattering up the street. I couldn't be sure, but I like to think there were eight of them.However, all I could see were their cotton-tailed rumps, no shiny red nose leading the pack.
Still, I knew that seeing deer on Christmas morning was a good omen.
Hub About My Dad's Final Day
- Death Vigil: the Ultimate Zen Experience
The hours leading up to 1:23 am this morning are not a blur at all. They are remarkably clear. I recall details that would normally escape notice. I am acutely aware of what I was thinking and feeling...
Deer as Celtic Symbol
In Celtic symboligy the deer is associated with the The Willow Tree, I find this incredible, as the dominant tree right by my parents' grave marker is -- guess what -- a stately willow!
Here is what whats-your-sign.com/celtic-animal-symbols.html says about the Deer:
"Deer walk gingerly and gracefully into our consciousness to bestow a quality of gentle reassurance. They are reminders of spiritual evolution, and the patience required to allow our spiritual unfolding (at our own pace). If you've ever encountered the deer, you know they'll wait for an eternity until they are quite sure it's safe to make the next move. The deer asks you to do this same in your spiritual walk."
A year ago I wrote about an egret. I saw him and knew this was the day my father would die. And he did.
In honor of my Dad, this weekend I visited the cemetery where he and Mom rest side-by-side.It's always peaceful there. A road winds up a hill lined with family plots and mausoleums. We always make a point of driving to the top. That's what we always did with Dad when visiting Mom. It seems only right to keep the tradition going.
As we ascended through the canopy of trees and crumbling crosses, we thought we had the cemetery to ourselves. Suddenly, a lone buck casually crossed our path.
We stopped. He stopped. He looked at us.We shushed each other and looked at him. He seemed nonplussed by our presence. Not quite curious, but quizzical.
We stayed that way for what seemed like a long time. Of course, in "cemetery time" it was a mere blink. And after the blink, off he went, scuttling up the hill and out of sight.
By the time we got to the top he was nowhere to be found. He vanished as mysteriously as he'd appeared.
This was a young buck. His horns mere buds, not yet antlers. A teenager, perhaps. Too old to need a babysitter, but there on this day for a reason.
Thank you, Mr. Deer, for reminding me of so many fond memories. Oh, and for watching over my parents in your graveyard.
Rest in peace, Jack (5/3/23 - 11/24/08) and Lee (6/19/24-4/24/05). Your loving daughter, Susan.