Quiet Majesty

As a deer longs for flowing streams,

so my soul longs for you, O my God.

Psalm 42

On my early morning drive for a newspaper and pastry in Michigan last weekend I noticed movement in the field beside the road. Four deer, two does and two fawns, stood as still as statues, maybe fifty yards away. I pulled over to the side of the road, rolled down the window. We stayed like that for a minute or so, watching one another, motionless, quiet. Finally, one doe moved, turned around and like a drill team the other three followed and the bounded off across the field, the way they had come earlier, and I watched as their white tails disappeared into the woods.

I know they are pests: farmers and gardeners alike detest them. They have eaten my flowers as well: colorful begonias I plant in the midst of the myrtle and they bloom, bright red, yellow, orange all summer. Until the deer eat them, that is. A few years ago in the midst of a long, sustained cold spell with a foot of snow on the ground, deer, I was told, were starving and eating anything green they could find. So they stripped three small pine trees of all their needles up to the heights of their reach. My little trees survived but look odd with green needles on the top and completely bare branches and trunk beneath. I do smile every time I see them.

This past summer, with plenty of rain, plants and shrubs thrived. It was a good year particularly for my hostas, green, lush, robust. On a weekend visit in July, I surveyed my garden as soon as we arrived and to my surprised chagrin my hostas were gone, the leaves sheared off a few inches from the ground, the tall flowers gone too.

Nevertheless, I love seeing them, the deer. It is always a moment of quiet grace, a reminder of something – something like the mystery and wonder of the world, something like the precious resilience of creation, something like the quiet majesty of the Creator.

Comments

  1. Robert Doak says:

    On Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 6:25 AM Hold to the Good wrote:

    > John M. Buchanan posted: “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul > longs for you, O my God. Psalm 42 On my early morning drive for a newspaper > and pastry in Michigan last weekend I noticed movement in the field beside > the road. Four deer, two does and two fawns, stood as ” >

  2. Thank you for this comforting meditation. It came just at the right time for me.
    Dr. Buchanan, My wonderful 32 year old son who has struggled with depression for many years, recently took his own life. Paul Seelman will conduct the memorial service at PHPC on Saturday. It would mean the world if you could pray for my family and me. Also, I’ve been struggling to remember the words of your traditional benediction. If you could share those with me, I would be so grateful. Thank you so much.

  3. Mary Overman says:

    “The Peace of Wild Things”

    When despair for the world grows in me
    and I wake in the night at the least sound
    in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
    I go and lie down where the wood drake
    rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
    I come into the peace of wild things
    who do not tax their lives with forethought
    of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
    And I feel above me the day-blind stars
    waiting with their light. For a time
    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

    ~ Wendell Berry

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