Doe, a Deer

Doe, a deer, a female deer…ate my raspberry plant down to 1/3rd of its original size. At some point before then, other creatures severely reduced the bounty of my other carefully selected and planted shrubs. The plants are not dead, but they aren’t as luscious as I was hoping they’d be right now.

Actually, that was what really caught my eye. My plants are not dead. In fact, the branches that were munched on a while ago already have leaves growing happily in the place of those that became dinner. And though this deer ate half my raspberry bush yesterday, she left the others alone. Surely, if she had even nibbled on the rest, they would have died from inability to photosynthesize, no question…

Why am I keen on kicking her out when she and her kind have been so careful as to not kill my shrubs? Even on an instinctive level, it doesn’t make sense for these creatures to destroy their renewable fuel source unless they are desperate, starving. In which case, shouldn’t I let her have it? “No deer! Go starve to death! I want to look at that flower!”

This practice of letting her hang around, allowing her to nibble on whatever she needs, has had me thinking about my incessant need to control my world. And I believe that humans, generally, have a grand obsession with being in control.

We want so badly to be God, not just godly. Since the beginning, we’ve thought we know better about how it all should work. Eat the fruit, we deserve to know everything. This food grows quickly, at precisely this size and color, in precisely this timeframe— if it doesn’t, genetically modify it. In a box. Don’t let the birds eat. Don’t let the bugs eat. Emotions: messy, don’t do those. Death - hide that! Sanitized, closed up and carted away as quickly as possible. Fertility, menstruation, menopause, pregnancy, timing of labor, birth. Timing of kids. Timing of house, car, relationships, career, school, retirement, rest, work. Clean! Restrain! Refrain! Abstain! Moving too slow. Moving too fast. Up, down, left, right, in, out. Assembly lines. Exact amounts, costs, trades, value. Plans. Calendars. Schedules.

What would happen if we just let things happen? If we learned to roll with whatever came across our path? What is my goal in life, and have I accomplished it by scaring off the doe every time she comes around? Or have I just created another opportunity for me to stress out about the inevitable: that life will happen and there is nothing I can do to stop it. But why might I want to stop life? Because it’s out of my control.

So, I’m working on being a participant, an admirer of life, rather than an obsessive, attempted authoritarian. And it’s not easy. But the more I step back and let things be, the more in awe of the Creator’s perfect designs I become.

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