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A Friend in Silence

Based on true events 

Silence is golden. During the silence, your thoughts organize themselves; your perception deepens; your spirit is put to peace as if by some lullaby. It was in this ever-penetrating silence that I was walking one day near some woods full of trees many years old. I could hear the occasional twitter of a bird or rustle of a leaf, but  it did not break the quietude. As I passed the deep edges of the noiseless wood, some unexplainable urge compelled me to raise my head from my thoughts and gaze towards the outskirts of the trees. It was almost magical, as if some faerie child had whispered in my ear: “ Awake! Awake! There is one who you must meet.” I obeyed the  command, and there beheld, walking sombrely along the trees, a magnificent grey-coated mule deer. It caught sight of my form now stilled in the snow, and halted. For a moment in time, we gazed at one another in the hush of the world, and pondered secret thoughts. Finally, the deer ambled away and entered the twisted forest cautiously, giving me a suspicious glance more than once as it left. Hardly had its black-tipped tail disappeared into the thicket when I prepared to depart, believing that I had beheld what I had been meant to behold. But nay! How foolish I was! I had but slightly turned away when another deer appeared in the other’s tracks and followed its companion, only to be followed itself by a third and fourth deer.  But all soon vanished into the bushes, giving me but a glimpse of their world and life. Those must be the last, thought I, yet in awe, and my cup of pleasure seemed too full to permit another drop. Yet again I was wrong. From the  woods, regal, taller than any of its predecessors, came lastly a lithe deer with a coat like butter in its creamy hue. It spotted me, but unlike the others, it did not rush on its way after a glance, but stood and observed me with the softest of gazes. The quiet of those few minutes deepened; never had I seen such a noble, otherworldly creature, and most likely never will again. I believe it was frightened of my presence, though I stood as still as a tree, yet it seemed also to be rather curious as to why I was so steadily watching it, why I did not simply pass by, or perhaps why I did not fly at to frighten it away. Finally, after many golden minutes, the deer appeared satisfied that I was no enemy, and with a catering trot and a swish of its black-tipped tail, it was gone. But even as I pursued my way home, it lingered, as clear as a crystal pool, in my mind. I could think of nought else, I could do nought else but rest my thoughts upon the scene I had beheld. Of the last deer I bore a special fondness, for though we said nothing or did nothing but watch each other, I felt that I had made a friend and that was enough for me.

Mule Deer
Odocoileus hemionus

Named for its large ears, the mule deer is a close relative of the white-tailed deer. The two can easily be distinguished by their tails. The mule deer bears a white tail with a black tip, whereas the white-tailed deer has white only upon the underside of its tail. Mule deer also have a habit of  using an interesting bounding gait in which they leap forward on all four feet and lands on all four feet. It is very amusing to see them travel in this fashion. It is a native animal.

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Wednesday September 22, 2021