Our car is skiing down an icy road in the Catskill mountains on the first day of the year, when my husband jams on the brakes and whispers,


Staring at us from the tangled woods is a massive deer, with a gaze so fierce and maternal, all the hair rises on my body, and I lose my words.

Beauty, my husband breathes.

A deep thirst suddenly parches my throat, a lifetime of longing to be fed, to be held, to be loved, and I choke.

The deer stares, unblinking.

Then, just as fast, another appears; a young buck, out of the glittering trees.

Then, a little sister, a regal doe.

Up springs the bug-eyed baby, and my heart floods.

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

Tears. I am missing my own.

The dying sun paints the forest gold.

My hand curls into my husband’s. We hold our breath, we are in this together.

Five feral deer stand in a perfect circle, facing us, on the tips of their hooves and the edge of a dream. A family of such exquisite presence, completely tuned in to the here and now.

The mountain air hums. We are found and we are lost.

The first and most vigilant deer, sensing the depth of my yearning, gives me a look of such savagery, I know she is the Mom.

A flicker of sun on an icy branch.

In the blink of an eye, back into the woods, they are gone.

Laughter bursts in the car, a deep, wild joy, and my words 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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