24 August, 2010

Deerly Beloved

Okay, so I couldn't resist the punny title, but it's accurate to say that I love, not like, deer. Since as a little tot, when my granddad rescued an orphan deer and brought Bambi home to stay with us for almost a year, until he was old enough to be taken away in a government truck to the Shubenacadie wildlife reserve, my heart has belonged to beautiful, soft-eyed deer.

I used to feed him from first a bottle and then a dish, and I fed him handfuls of a particular fuzzy pink weed with a woody stalk that he could eat all day.  With sore hands it was hard to pick enough, but I didn't care. I loved him with all the passion of childhood when loves are so strong, so full of all the colours of emotion. Me and my Nannie called him home from the woods behind the house where he would wander during the day. And he knew his name and came for grub. Just like me.

The day the truck called for him and I had to let them take him was sad. I watched and watched until he was out of sight. I noticed that his spots were fading to a soft brown coat. And I'm sure his eyes looked sad too. He may even have cried as much as I did. That I don't remember but I never forgot him, not to this day.

This past week on a campimg vacation with my daughter to the woods and beautiful beaches of  Nova Scotia's South Shore, we had the chance to see two deer close up. And both times we were driving in a car. Once at dusk a pale beige buck paused for a few minutes before turning and leaping into the darkening bushes, but the second time was magic. I was driving down a small road to a picnic park on the way to breakfast and there she was on the side of the road, just a few yards away. Close enough that as I spoke to her she looked directly into my eyes and nodded her head a little, like a Japanese bow of greeting. Another car came after a few minutes and scared her, but it had been enough.

You know how the expression dearly beloved is adressed to those gathered at a wedding, the family of the bride and groom, the special ones that are invited to witness this important part of the lives of the celebrants - the ones they want to see the most and be seen by. It seems that, as I think about growing old, I want to end where I began, recognizing all the important loves of my life - you know, my family

Here is a picture taken by my beautiful daughter, R.J.O. She's just off to the left as the deer and I meet eyes. It's taken from inside the car. Please click on the picture to see it better.


sylvï said...

both photos are beautiful. we have white-tailed deer in the woods at home but i always just get the bouncing rear ends bobbing through the shrubbery after startling them on my walks. but i think they sleep on our fields sometimes. as do moose and rabbits. deer are kind of in between those two, i think.

i hope life in the wild was good to bambi and somewhere doe-eyed offspring is still grazing.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora VJ,
These are beautiful photos and thoughts. I guess it is a mark of coming full circle in many ways when those thoughts of family pervade within us. It is something I deal with every day - as you well know having lived far away from what is so much the essence of ourselves for so long. It never gets easy.
I am sure that deer was sad. I have no doubt that when animals sense we are being open and non arrogant that their sense of us becomes so much aware. I too hope the deer had a good life.
I always am thrilled to see deer in the mountains here.
The cooking is going is well, we are all eating healthier, and Taylor, my oldest is starting to develop a keen interest in cooking. His scrambled eggs are to die for! I have dropped about 8 kilos since my hip surgery by just eating better and more natural foods and it has made a huge diffence to me. Particularly in getting back to the mountains.
Glad to read you have been out in the wild camping and observing. I'll bet you must cooked up some yummy camp food! Hope all is well my friend. Kia kaha!

vegetablej said...


Bambi didn't get to live in the wild but in a compound behind a fence in a wildlife "reserve", sort of like a zoo but with slightly bigger cages. I went to visit once, but couldn't find him and it was too sad, both for him and the other deer, but at least he was safe there.

What a nice thought, that he has ancestors somewhere. Thank you!


vegetablej said...

Hi Robb:

Great news about your improved heaalth, and of course your return to the mountains!

My daughteer says the camp food was good, and I have to agree that eating outdoors was a great treat. We ran into some amazing wildlife and gorgeous wild beaches with no one on them but us. My daughter's dog was in heaven running and swimming like crazy and she is 14 years old. It was great to be in the fresh air and trees.

A cooking son is a marvelous thing; now it's time to teach him omelettes. If you look in my side bar I have a picture of one (and a post) telling how to make really good ones. An omelette can take you from a quick meal at home (with toast) to the table of a king (with truffles).

Happy cooking, guys.


Anonymous said...

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I have recently completed my first website, on my chemical free reafforestation. Perhaps you would like my photos.


vegetablej said...


Thanks for your thanks!

I had a long look at your website including at all the pictures. It seems clear that you are creating a paradise there for both flora and fauna. I can only say that you have my immense admiration. What a wonderful thing you are doing for Australia and the earth.

Your website with its beautiful pictures of rainforest plants and animals is a true gift. Would it be alright to put up a link to it?


Anonymous said...

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Thank you.

vegetablej said...

Thanks, anonymous. The link is posted in the Environment / Living/ Brain Food section. I hope people will take a look at your work and the wonderful pictures.