Wildlife Lessons-The Gentleness of Deer

DSCN2128“In the midst of our lives, we must find the magic that makes our souls soar.”

~ Anonymous



Every summer we wait patiently (OK sometimes not so patiently) for the new fawns to emerge from the woods and step into the meadow.  The mama deer (a white-tailed deer or Odocoileus virginianus) is careful to make sure they are a couple of months old before allowing them out in public.



It is a tremendous sight to see these special DSCN2817creatures.  Young, so full of wonder, awe and play.  I feel younger myself as I watch them, and I melt back to my childhood and those days of new discoveries when I hadn’t a care in the world.  Drinking in the world through my senses.  That is how I imagine it is to be one these lovely creatures; these young deer just experiencing the world for the first time.




And so it was on my husband’s birthday, that two lovely, adorable little fawns stepped into the meadow for the first time…mama right by their side, always not too out of reach.  DSCN1224Watching them explore, being admonished by their parent for taking off, or warned that danger was near and they had to flee.  It brought back a flood of memories of me holding a cherished adult hand, fading behind them a bit skittish to come out and meet others….still shy and a bit fearful, but safer knowing my mother, father or grandfather had my hand.







Once the fawns appear we are on fawn watch daily calling, ‘they’re out…in the meadow or in the neighbor’s yard by the pool or they are running the loop’.  I cannot tell you how my
heart soars watching them in the intimate moments with mama….stealing a glimpse as she nurses them…WOW!  Or watching them groom each other with those little tongues….and how adorable are those spots almost in specific patterns that must mean something.




fawns collage

Seeing mama show them the flowers, plants and shrubs to eat.  Each having a favorite that they enjoy in the meadow as they appear to disappear amongst the tall goldenrod and Queen Anne’s Lace.  Just a pair of ears moving slowly through the plants.



And watching with pride the first day they cross the road.  Scared for them as they wander DSCN3993down the fence line, cognizant of the people about…running back many times…today is not the day.  And finally they meander, too slow I think, across the asphalt, and my heart stops hoping no cars are about.  They stop for a few moments to explore other gardens.  Then realizing mama is gone they race to the safety of the woods to visit.



DSCN4836The twin fawns that were born this year continue to grow up around us.  Not old enough to jump the fence yet in fall and winter.  Seeing their spots fade and their thick winter coats replace the youthful innocence.  Praying they make it through the winter.  Seeing their mother inside the fence the night of our first snowfall, covered in snow and close to the fence with her babes nuzzling her nose, from the other side,  every so often to make sure they were OK.



Spotting them recently still with mama running the fence line at dusk to cross the road DSCN6710and go to the woods, I worry about them in this bitter cold.  I miss seeing them daily, and will wait for spring when we will hopefully see them again.  We think one is female ( a bit smaller) and one male (a bit larger)…will they stay together for another year; I don’t know.  But I am sure one day I will find them inside the fence.  And we will have a meeting of the minds as I let them know the meadow is for them, the garden inside the fence for me.  Somehow I don’t think they will interested in what I have to say.




Here is some interesting folklore about deer:

  • According to Native American lore, deer represent gentleness.
  • Deer are said to represent the gentleness of spirit to heal our wounds and help us find peace.
  • The spots on the fawn represent the dark and light in others that we must love if we are to bring gentleness and peace to ourselves and others.
  • Deer represent the love and compassion we need to find balance in our lives so we can accept ourselves as enough as we are.





With this wildlife story, I am joining in the meme Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina@My Gardener Says that happens the first Wednesday of every month, and with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.  I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  Please check them all out.





I leave you with another thought about deer and all wildlife.  Feel free to download this photo and share.


All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

60 Replies to “Wildlife Lessons-The Gentleness of Deer”

  1. What an absolutely wonderful compassionate post Donna, your love of wildlife shines through. We’ve had snow here this week and the usual slow internet speed is now at a crawl, so I cannot see your photos on any device, but your text is so evocative I feel I can see them anyway. Your last paragraph on the meeting of the minds made me smile too.

  2. Such a beautiful post!! I love your photos and I especially love the fact that you’re not complaining about the deer. I’m sure they can be pests in a garden, but (in many cases) they were “here” before housing developments and should be left to their devices to adjust to our encroachment.

    Thanks for participating in Wildlife Wednesday!

    1. That is exactly how I feel Tina as they were here and the protected areas are for the wildlife….and yes they can be a pest and they love my garden so I am adjusting it….

  3. An evocative post with great images! There are several lessons here and I need them all. Too often I view the deer roaming our subdivision as adversaries, competitors for what’s growing in my spaces rather than collaborators. Which is ridiculous because they were here first, and while I am looking to invite wildlife into my garden spaces all they are hoping to do is simply BE wildlife.

    1. Deb that is the revelation that finally came to me too….I think seeing them living their life made me realize that we are sharing….so I accept things and try to be preventative as I can without disrupting them.

  4. How very, very beautiful. What a privilege to see.
    Deer (which I dont see in the wild) spell gentleness to me. People say ‘as gently as a lamb’ but I have seen the vim and vigour with which they headbutt their mothers to get a drink and the energy of their chasing games.
    Deer on the other hand…

    1. Thanks Soosie. I am grateful for all the critters who visit us and I know they bring me many lessons that I am grateful for…..there is such a calm that comes over me when I see them step into the meadow.

  5. Everything you have written here I can take to heart, Donna, because in my past life (Atlanta), we often had deer come across our front lawn where we lived in the woods. I was in awe every time I saw them. I love knowing what they meant to the Native Americans. We can learn much from them, I see. Thanks for sharing!

    1. So happy you enjoyed them Susan. They generally come out in the morning with mama when they are young so the morning light is amazing as it shines down on them.

  6. What a wonderful post, Donna. Your photos are so beautiful and emphasize the love among these animals. Obviously the Native Americans were much more in tune with wildlife and nature than most folks are these days. I think just seeing such sights and being able to walk amongst wildlife, whether birds or deer or rabbits, is a privilege that we should never take for granted. I was particularly taken by the representation of the spots on the fawns. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Thank you Anna for your wonderful comment. I couldn’t agree more. And thank you for subscribing to my garden blog, Gardens Eye View. I look forward to reading your blog regularly.

  7. Hello Donna, what a wonderful post on the deer and the adorable fawns. They do look so pretty and gentle..The spotted twins are just adorable.. I know most gardeners would not want these cuties in their gardens but I would love to see them in my yard.. Great post and photos. Thank you so much for joining in with my critter party. Have a happy weekend!

  8. This is a wonderful post full of fantastic information and great photographs. Nature is wonderful and I hope soon the deer will soon by back for you to fully enjoy again. Have a lovely weekend.

  9. I think deer are just so cute, especially the fawns. It is too bad they devastate gardens though. We had a herd of deer in our neighborhood the day I left for Europe. I never did find out what became of them. At least they missed all my yews.

    1. That is the dilemma Donna. Without any natural predators, their numbers get out of hand and then they do what they have to survive…eat our garden plants. Glad to hear your yews were spared.

  10. What wonderful moments you’ve captured on camera, Donna. I love the image of the fawns drinking in the world through their senses — especially with those big eyes and ears. It’s lovely to see them among the meadow flowers. Gentleness — yes. I can see that. It helps me forget certain rhododendrons when I lived in the Finger Lakes area, too… 🙂

    1. I know Stacy….with those precious eyes and big ears I can’t stay mad at them. We can never get enough of them and they were just as curious about us as we were about them.

  11. I love this post. I have a lot of deer also, however this reminds me of a time years ago when we had a 3 legged mama deer -someone shot her leg off & it finally healed- ,we were surprised she healed, it looked terrible for awhile-bring her baby to us, leaving her fawn under our bedroom window-I discovered him when I went to mow some really high grass down, then she still trusted us to keep him under the ramp to our front door. I always felt special that she chose us to” help “in her care of her little one. We kept a water barrel fountain where he drank from too, guess she felt she didn`t have to motivate far for water & food.She is no longer alive now, I suppose, but for years we would still see her.
    That is what someone told us, to have a deer trust us like that showed that we had gentle spirits .I had forgotten all about that, thank-you for sharing, Phyllis

  12. They’re so sweet at this stage Donna, and cute until they eat your prized plants I guess. We’d be watching for them too as you do. 🙂
    I’m going to put your photo and quote on my FB thanks.
    Thank you for linking to Mosaic Monday.

  13. This is a perfect post! The fawns are so sweet… We see lots of deer when were in the Pacific Northwest, but never in the early fawn stage. That one nursing is just the sweetest capture. You are lucky to have them close and I hope winter is kind! I enjoyed very much the poem above as well.

    1. Oh thank you so much Sallie…and I was happy you could see our fawns. We are very lucky, and have seen them this winter. Winter has been cold and lots of snow….I hope we see a thaw soon.

  14. Such a beautiful post!! Those fawns are darling and what a privilege for you to be able to see them regularly. Thanks for sharing the beauty with us. They are indeed gentle creatures.

  15. Well, Donna, it sounds and looks wonderful to have this opportunity to watch the deer and observe their growth… right behind your fence. I wonder, when they get into your garden, how much damage do they do?

    I really like what the folklore shares! It makes sense.

    1. If I didn’t protect the garden and keep a watchful eye, they would decimate many areas especially the veg garden and some of their favorite plants would never grow in my garden. I don’t plant tulips anymore because they are relentless in their pursuit of eating any and all in my garden.

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