A Deer’s Tale



I am lying in bed. It has gone midnight and I toss and tumble beneath the covers. Sleep has yet to find me. Instead worry and woe pervade my thoughts. I weep and long for arms about me. I long to hear a whisper through my being. Dear one, it will be alright.


I find myself, with duvet wrapped around, cradled in fetal. Tears bleeding into my pillow. Sorrow feels a tricky bedfellow tonight.


Then, within a breath that comes from elsewhere, I alight from this space. I head outside to the car, into the quietness of night. It is clear and crisp and the turning of the engine fails to break the silence. I take off in the direction where my heart knows well.


As I exit the city lights, past the A roads and slip over the threshold, soul starts to feel a keenness. I drive through the village and start winding up the country lanes. My bones know this home-coming. Night leads me. The aches of being lead me. Here I am, with the velvety black pouring affirmation into my cells.


The road takes a gradual, steady incline upwards, past the odd farm and row of cottages dotted on the way. There are spots along this route that in daylight allow vistas of the city and river below. Tonight I spy the twinkles of lights in the distance. The shimmers hold little allure. It is the darkness that draws me onwards.


As the car climbs higher, I meet the forest. Pines, oaks, ashes, stand tall all around. My breath is a little taken. Mind fleets with imagination and I shudder in my smallness. Still I carry on. I know where I am heading and take the right fork down towards my destination.


This is the stretch in which I usually drop my speed and watch out for my friends. Tonight, however, this is not necessary. Tonight, rather, they are watching out for me. Tonight, this is where I meet the wardrobe door.


They stop the car and beckon me out. Language shifts gear and our communication is felt. I am transforming. Their presence gives me new shape. I am becoming.


Now, with my four-legged comrades, we take to the road ahead. Reverence and wonder flood my bloodstream. I am in a sea of stags and does, wildly charging forth. They govern the way and lead me to the small holding. Gates closed, we find our way in, past the yurts and embers of yesterday evening’s fires and then, suddenly, I am alone.


They have laid me where I feel safe. Here, in deer form, I discover myself once more curled in fetal. The soil is damp. There is rest in the air. I lie here in stillness, the sleepy eyelid of night-sky watching over me until dawn.


As the blissful kiss of daybreak, carried by birdsong, sweeps over this small community, souls rise to greet waking life. Some I know, others not. Their footsteps crunch through the fresh morning frost, tenderly tending to hungry bellies with tea, toast, eggs and oats.


I lie, not moving. Their chatters marrying with the unfolding of life’s gratitude being breathed into every corner of plant, seed and wisp of air around.


They meet in circle. I am close by in proximity, a small stool perched beside me. No one brings attention to my presence yet neither no one ignores. They assign jobs for the day. Who shall harvest, cook, house-keep, dream and, once acknowledgement of what each heart has brought to this glorious morning has been honoured, set forth to their duties.


Whilst they go about their tasks, as each hour curves around the earth, each member of this community comes upon a moment to pass by and each one, turn by turn, with the sip of divine choreography relishing the enchantment of this day, takes the seat beside me. They come to tell their story and, each, as if musical notes in an operatic score, takes on different dimension and tone.


Some speak of tired bodies, others of love and others of confusion but of all, I am not privy to tell. No one need know their tales. I need not know. Yet there is a holding space on this day that my deer-self is purposed to be here for and for that I am thankful. Refuge has graced us all.


There are now apples in the store. There is soup and bread on the table. The fires are alight and the arc of the day is drawing to a close. All have spoken their song and, as serenity gently caresses through the heartbeat of the community, all are deeply sated. Now, as night falls over the land once more, my time to leave is upon me.


From stillness, I arise into the vastness above. Although I am female, from my forehead jut a set of juvenile antlers. As I gallop over the small holding back into the indigo and towards the Moor, all of a sudden I hear laughter.


It is my children. My son. My daughter. From the tips of my antlers there flow silver threads and each child, here for the ride, holds one in each hand. They have taken flight with me and I feel the lightness of their joy, merriment and giggles rippling along my spine as I lead them off through the sky and into the beauty of night. As I glance behind, all anguish has dissolved. Ecstasy simply chases me instead.


Image: Source unknown

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