Our car was skiing down a icy road in the Catskill mountains on the first day of the year, when my husband jammed on the brakes and whispered, look.

Staring at us from the tangled woods was a massive deer, with a look so fierce and maternal, the hair rose on my body and I lost my words.

Beauty, my husband breathed.

Thirst suddenly parched my throat, a longing to be fed, to be held, and I choked.

The deer didn’t blink.

Then, out-of-nowhere, another appeared; a young buck, in the frosted trees.

Then, a little sister; a regal doe.

Up sprang the bug-eyed baby, and my heart flooded with love.

Then, holy! A huge buck with a missing ear. Could he be their Dad?

Tears. I am missing my own.

The dying sun painted the forest gold.

My hand curled into my husband’s. We were in this together, we stopped breathing in the car.

Five feral deer stood in a perfect circle, facing us, on the tips of their hooves and the edge of my dream. A family of such exquisite presence, so completely tuned in. The mountain air hummed, and we were lost.

Then, one-by-one, they were gone. The first and most vigilant deer, the last to go, gave me a look of such savagery, I knew she was the Mom.

As they disappeared into the woods, joyful laughter burst in the car, and my voice came home.

Oh, my people, we are not alone.


Drawing by Keyvan Mahjoor. I wrote about him in To Iran, With Love. For more of his amazing work, click here


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GOOD NEWS FLASH: I just bumped into Joe the hugger at the café and after our hug, asked him for some good news. He told me it’s very radical. We live in absolute perfection, and we don’t know it. Most of us are asleep, but it’s never too late to wake up.

On that note, I urge you to read the late, great Farley Mowat’s People of the Deer. An amazing story of people whose entire existence depended on the caribou. A classic in the we better get-our-shit-together and save-the-planet genre. Let me know what you think.


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