Blessings from the Deer
Early morning prayers find me always concluding with facing the lush woods in the back of my place. Vanaspateybhyo namaha, pasupakshimrigeybhyo namaha and so on till I finish bowing down to the devatas of the rashtra, pranta, nagara, grama, etc. Often looking out of the bedroom or kitchen window I think of Sugatha Kumari's poem thannutha poonthanal veeshi padarnnu chuzhnnu nilkkunna marathindey thirumudikkithaa thozhunnen, and cannot help feeling a sense of gratitude to those large trees.
The bird feeders I have placed outside below brings in many dainty yellow and the red common finches, the loud bluejays, speedy nuthatches, tiny chickadees, the darting juncos, gentle doves, occasional robins, and towhees. By 7 am iridescent hummingbirds drink the nectar I have put out for them. The other day I spotted an oriole singing sweetly while gliding between the branches of the trees. This month I am finding more birds that I have never seen before make an occasional visit to the sunflower seed bird feeder hanging in my deck. There is a sense of achievement for me knowing that I am able to draw nature so close this way. The presence of four large grey squirrels is not always a good sight as one of them, a pesky adamant female has been climbing the bird feeder I have planted below on the grass, knocking things around and scaring the birds. This happens in spite of placing some squirrel food on a large rock on the ground.
The greatest joy for me, however, is the occasional visits by families of deer. This part of the woods is a regular travel area for them but my manager says never so many has she seen. They always finish the squirrel food when they get here. Whenever I look at this favourite animal of mine I am overcome with sorrow and guilt for I feel we human beings have taken over so much of creation. When I go on my exercise walks in the park nearby where my selected routes are doing pradakshina to the three lakes there, and practicing walking japam, I run into families of deer. They stop still and look at me and so I stop and look at them holding a namaskara mudra. Are they not part of the benevolent Bhagavan's creation? What right have we to dominate the common environment so much by creating such extravagant needs?
Yesterday marked a great significance for me in this love I have for Prakriti. Facing the woods as I was showing the lamp to the trees early morning I noticed a deer. I quickly moved backwards so that I would not alarm it. It looked up at me directly and so mentally I spoke to it, “Please do not be afraid of me. I will never, never hurt you. I am the one putting food for you. You are safe with me.” I then finished my daily japam, welfare prayers and returned to the window to find it standing well hidden in the bushes. I went about my household chores quietly and kept returning to the window to look at the deer. It had found a safe place to sit. After two hours or so I called Amy and briefed her on this sight. She hoped that it was hopefully not wounded. That thought brought in a sense of worry especially since I noticed it was licking its sides every now and then. I took my binoculars out and viewed through that. I could not see any obvious wounds. Three hours had passed and it was still there, occasionally munching on the leaves of the bushes nearby. Just as I was about to call the maintenance man, Loni, who is quite a nature lover I looked outside and it was gone. "Thank goodness," I thought. I said a mental prayer thanking it for being near me for so long. I suspect that this one may be pregnant and was communicating love to the baby inside!
Today I woke up late as I had a nasty night of headache and breathing problems. This county is notorious for allergies and for one as sensitive as unfortunately I am, this season is the worst. Still, I moved with the lamp to the window as usual and lo and behold there it was, the single deer cozily sitting in the same small clearing well hidden by the bushes. All I could do was a namaskara to Bhagavan in the avatara of a deer and say, “I feel blessed that you have chosen this spot and thus allow me to have your darshan.” By 9 am it left the place.
A week or so later during a walk in the park I noticed two deer about 10 yards away drinking water from the pond below. I looked at them and did namaskar and softly said, “Yaa devi sarvabhooteshu mriga roopena sumsthithaa, namastasyaiy namastasyaiy namstasyaiy namo namah.” Then I bent my head down and continued my circle walk without looking at them directly. They stayed, no longer afraid of this human kind!
So the latest news is... I have a mother and two does, a mother and one fawn, one pregnant doe and another slim deer all coming at different times to eat the food I put out. The other night as I walked to the bedroom window to pull the shades in order to block the cold, I noticed a deer quietly eating in the dark. I think they now live in the woods behind where I live.
Yesterday June 27th found 2 couples boldly eating the food at 5.30 am in the early hours of dawn. The bucks looked strong with 6 inch high branched antlers. So now the count is 11!
Oh yes, a tiny possum now comes in the pre-hours of the dawn to feed on the millet seed patch.
The joy of fellow wild creatures and vegetation being such an integral part of my life is an everlasting source of comfort, satisfaction and joy.