Monday, September 7, 2020

The Perfect Fence


Our Grown Girl

The carpenter installed it right after we moved in.  It enclosed our entire grassy backyard that was abundant with fruit trees. There were two gates for easy access. The natural wood pickets blended seamlessly with the rustic environment.  It was tall enough to keep the dogs in and coyotes out and short enough for our neighborhood deer to spring over and share our apples.  For twenty-three years it was the perfect fence.  And then it wasn't.

I poured my first cup of coffee and meandered out on the deck to enjoy the sounds and aromas of a late spring morning.  The air was rich with lilac and mint and rosemary.  Mourning doves were cooing.  As I took my first rich, steamy sip I sensed movement in my periphery along the fence line to my left.  I turned, happily expecting to see the usual munching menagerie - fat bunnies, female deer with their sweet spotted babies, the occasional handsome buck.  When I moved closer, my anticipated joy turned to horror.  Wedged tightly between two pickets on top of the fence was a frightened, frantically flailing, traumatized little fawn.  She hadn’t cleared the barrier. 

Weeping, I phoned the police for assistance. Husband Jim heard the call and rushed upstairs out onto the deck.  Sobbing uncontrollably, unable to speak, I pointed and Jim acted.  He shoved a sturdy lawn chair under her head then went around to her legs. She froze in terror enabling him to grab her back hoofs and gently shove her through the fence, the lawn chair breaking her fall.   By this time the police had arrived and our injured fawn had flopped onto the ground where she lay motionless. The officer donned heavy gloves and inspected her little body.  "Except for that cut on her side, she doesn't look badly hurt, but she's pretty scared," he said.  "Let's stand back and give her some space.  She'll either recover or she won't."  I held my breath.  Our little girl raised her head, but didn’t seem to notice us.  Soon, she stood on wobbly legs.  And then she bolted off into the thick pines.  "She may just make it," said the cop.  "But you can never be sure."  I glanced over to the trees.  Right at the very edge stood a large female deer.  Her trusting, liquid brown eyes looked straight into mine before she disappeared into the foliage.  Given my writer's imagination I decided it was Mama and I was sure, like any mom, she understood and was grateful we had helped her baby.  Reminded me of my belief in our universal connection, the vulnerability we share, the help we're all capable of offering.  Standing there in the sunrise, barefoot in ratty pajamas, I was crying again.   

Back out on the deck about a week later I saw several full-grown does munching our apples.  They had three growing fawns in tow.  One of them had a healing wound on her side.  She looked up when she saw me, our eyes meeting for just a second before her clean leap over the fence.  She landed graceful and tall glancing back with pride and in that magnificent shared moment I was captured in the oneness of all living beings.  Embraced by the power of unity, the uncomplicated beauty of life, I reminded myself to live each day simply with joy and deep gratitude like all the sweet critters on either side of the perfect fence.