Thursday, June 25, 2009

I was holding my husbands hand, enjoying watching my 10 year old joyfully running up ahead of us. We were going to take a walk in the wooded area near our home...The neighborhood calls it "moose can gully" but to my family it is simply "The Gully". It has been our place of refuge in these months of chaos and trauma. Our other boys opted to stay home to avoid the mosquito population that lives there...but not our Sam. He looked like a little silky haired bear cub darting from one tree to the next, enjoying the birds, laughing at how quickly the hummingbirds darted to eat the mosquitoes that were trying to eat us. The sky was the kind of blue that invites your eyes to swim in it's coolness, and the air was warm and inviting.

Suddenly I heard my husband gasp. We all froze following his eyes. A perfect little newborn fawn was nestled under a ponderosa pine, surrounded by wispy tall grasses and purple and yellow flowers. It lay there looking at us...just looking. It was too new and tiny to be afraid. It didn't get up, it just looked at us. We kept our distance, and whispered about how precious it vulnerable sitting there alone. No mama doe in sight. How could she leave her tiny little one, alone in the woods where foxes or dogs might hurt it...and yet...that is what they do.

The tears in my husbands eyes told the same story as I was feeling. You don't leave your baby alone to die. You protect it with all your might and tenderness. You don't turn away and assume all will be well in a world full of danger and accidents. You nestle them close and nurse them often, always vigilant, always there.

At do if your not a deer. You do if your me.

The thought pinched my gut...because my babies, my twins, vulnerable and tiny...I couldn't protect them. I couldn't save them from natures will. I couldn't make them live. Even in the protected haven of my womb, they were not immune to death.

The mama deer understands something that I sometimes forget...she trusts life. If her baby is there when she returns (which, based on the flourishing deer populations in this state must be what usually happens...) she will cuddle near and let it nurse. She will have nourished her body, and will be available to her precious infant with the caramel fur covered in little white spots. If, on the other hand, her little one is taken by a predator, she will know. She will smell and sense what has happened. She will grieve. And she will move on. She will continue caring for herself. She will not stop eating or contemplate ending her life. She has an innate trust in is what it is-- and nothing more or less.

We left that baby fawn in it's hiding place...tears in our eyes for the vulnerability that is a baby, that is life. We left that little one without touching it's soft fur, knowing that a mama knows how her baby smells. There was nothing more that we could do. No way to ensure his safety any more than I can ensure my own children's safety from moment to moment.

Our little Sam...the animal whisperer...wondered out loud about having it as a worried that it would become food for another animal. I told him we would call someone just to make sure it was normal for a baby so small and new to be alone like that. When we got home, I called the number for fish and wildlife and put the recording on speaker phone. The recording talked about taking precautions against bear invading garbage cans and bird feeders, and about deer having their babies at this time of the year. The message implored people to leave the babies where they were found, explained that the mama's leave for days at a time, and that they were not abandoned. We all felt much more at ease after hearing this explanation for finding such a tiny baby alone. It was what mother deer did. He was not alone. Not really.

I went back later...for my own peace of mind. The baby fawn was curled up in the same place, alert and peaceful. I whispered that I had lost my twin babies...and that I had loved them and wanted them in my arms so badly. I whispered my love for the fawn...and prayed for his mama to return soon. I took a picture of him...and blew a kiss. His unblinking eyes knowing nothing but trust. He was not afraid.

We are not alone.
Not really.

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