And I as I was sitting on the porch watching the creek and thinking of all the wildlife I've been so blessed to see, this kernel of an idea came to me. One might say I was truly inspired by the creek….
I looked up from my book to discover the setting sun’s light spotlighting the whiskey toned coats of two does grazing in the neighboring pasture. I sat enthralled by their beauty and as they scampered off, I remembered the first time I saw a deer.
Some forty-plus years earlier, my family had been camping in the mountains of western North Carolina. Our days were spent preceding to be beavers and dam the river or hiking along the myriad trails, stopping every 2 feet so my father could set up his tripod and camera to capture yet another mushroom. Nights were spent gathered around the campfire with my brothers and I competing to see who could roast the perfect marshmallow. But that elusive time between dinner and dark was generally spent looking for anything to do. Until my mother heard about the deer watching
That evening, we loaded up in the car and drove a few miles along a dirt road until we came upon a clearing on the east side of the road. A farmer’s hay pasture lay between the road and a copse of trees a few hundred or so yards away. Before we departed the car, my mother told us to be very quiet or we’d scare the deer.
“What deer?” I thought to myself as I scrambled out from my designated place in the center of the back seat. I saw the green pasture and the trees, but no deer. I became a bit bored and went to explore the wild flowers on the other side of the road and waited for my turn with the binoculars.
My father helped me adjust the glasses to fit my eyes and then helped me find the deer. Like a kaleidoscope, everything was blurry until one last adjustment brought into focus two fawns skipping along the edge of the trees. I clasped the binoculars eagerly and panned all along those trees. DEER. I was seeing deer! All too soon, my mother reminded me to share the binoculars with my brothers and the deer disappeared into a fuzzy blur of green.
We returned the next night and I became quite insistent that I needed the binoculars immediately. I didn’t want to miss the deer. My mother gave me an odd look and handed me her glasses. “Look through these. Are you able to see the deer now?” I carefully held her glasses up to my eyes and peered through the lenses. All the fuzziness that I had grown to believe was normal suddenly became clear. Individual leaves on the trees closest to us appeared. I spied clumps of flowers in the pasture and finally I looked straight ahead and saw the deer without the aid the binoculars.
“You need glasses, Maura.” Mama remarked as she took hers back so she could see the deer. The rest of that vacation was spent sharing my mother’s glasses in the evenings so I could see the deer.
And I started third grade wearing some incredibly ugly horn-rimmed glasses. And now many pairs of glasses and contacts later, I am grateful to those deer. I can see now because I couldn’t see then.