The Deer

Elliot loved to watch the deer. They walked so elegantly, as if they weighed nothing, they looked and listened for things that Elliot couldn’t hear, and when they ran their whole bodies rocked and they ran in total silence. One morning, in his backyard, there were three deer – a buck with enormous antlers and two doe. Elliot watched as they ate wildflowers in the yard. After a few minutes, he opened the backyard with all the quiet he had and walked slowly out into the yard. He was about halfway across the yard when they noticed him, and he stopped as they regarded him carefully. They weren’t sure what to make of him – he hadn’t quite startled them, but they couldn’t go back to just quietly munching either, and Elliot thought he could see the deer thinking carefully about what to do about him.

The three of them began walking slowly across the yard, circling him, keeping just as much space between them and him as there had been when he’d stopped. They ambled until they were at the far end of the yard, and then he could see the big buck’s nose twitch, and Elliot noticed for the first time that there was a very slight breeze blowing from where he was to where the deer were, and that the buck was trying to make sense of him by smelling him. He looked at the buck, and the buck looked back. And then, soundlessly, the three deer took off into the woods.


Written on 10/17/15 for a thoughtful boy whose favorite thing was watching the deer in his backyard.

Podcast Episode:


016 The Deer (Downloadable mp3 – right click the link and choose “Save Link As…”)

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The Deer