Fluttering my eyes, it took a moment to remember I was waking up in our home in the woods. I stepped into the bathroom and raised the blinds. In the morning light, something seemed strange. I shut my eyes tightly and opened them again.
A big deer with three-pointed antlers stared at me from the other side of the window. After my initial gasp, I laughed quietly and whispered, “Well, good morning.”
I knew the magical moment would be fleeting. Looking hard into the deer’s eyes with appreciation for its strength and majesty, I felt a mysterious connection with another sentient being. The deer swiftly turned away and leapt across our yard into the trees.
A couple of months later, I had the task of staining a deck Mike had built. I started early, before the summer sun got too hot. As I fell into the focused flow of moving my brush back and forth, board after board, I became lost in my thoughts.
Dad would have loved this place. He’d be so proud of the improvements we’ve been making. We sure could use his help. I bet if he visited, he’d buy a cabin here. Imagine if he and mom lived on the lake, too. He’d discover all the best fishing holes. I wonder if he can see us from heaven…
I stopped to chug some water and wipe my sweaty face with my shirt. I was back to work when I heard a startling rustle and heavy footsteps charging through the woods towards me. My heart pounded, not sure what had come to an abrupt stop between the tree line and the deck.
It was the big deer with three-pointed antlers.
It stood motionless less than five feet away and gazed at me with a gentle intensity. Without thinking, I whispered, “Dad?” In the quiet of the woods, I could hear the deer’s breath begin to match my own. “I know it’s you,” I said with certainty. “I’ve missed you so much.”
I was aware of the significance of such an enchanted scene, but I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it. A sense of serenity washed over me like a cool breeze. Sitting comfortably, I talked to my dad for several minutes. He bent down to eat a little while I chatted, looking up at me while he chewed. When I had said all I needed to say, he slowly turned and disappeared into the woods.
I sat spellbound on our deck for a long time. My processing turned into prayer that lasted until I felt the sun burning my skin. I pulled my phone out of my back pocket and settled in the shade.
“Hi Mom. It’s me. I have to tell you what just happened.”