Friday, 30 December 2016

New Year's Eve, A Day Early.

I've been waiting since I started this blog back in March to write this story.

It happened one New Year's Eve, perhaps four or five years ago. A snowstorm had been forecast, and as the day wore on, the forecast proved to be right. Huge snowflakes began to fall, quickly covering the ground and starting to pile up.

We are not party goers, so New Year's Eve was just like any other evening for us. My husband was snoring in front of the TV, and I was on the computer reading blogs. As the evening wore on, I looked out the window into our back yard to see how the storm was progressing.

And there, in the dimness, I saw a large deer standing at the edge of the yard, her back to the trees, with the soft, heavy snowflakes drifting down around her. It was a scene straight out of a Christmas card.

As I watched, things became more interesting. A much smaller deer materialized from the side of our yard, approached the large one and they touched noses for several seconds. Then the little one ambled off again to graze on our shrubs.

By this time I had become more alert, and noticed a second small deer to one side, and as I watched, it, too, approached the large deer, touched noses, and was sent away to graze some more.

I watched in fascination as these actions were repeated several times over. The large deer, which I have to think was the mother, didn't take a bite for herself. She stood as still as a statue, and was soon covered in snow, barely visible. But she kept sending her babies back to eat more, somehow sensing that the coming weather would make it hard to find food for an extended period, and trying to store up food the only way she knew how - in her babies' bellies.

I left the window for a reason I can no longer recall, and when I returned, all three deer were gone.

I thought of them over the next three days as we experienced one of our more severe snowstorms in the recent past. It took that long for our street to be plowed, and until it was, we could not leave our yard, the snow was so deep. It was undoubtedly hard for all wildlife to get around and find food, and it still hurts my heart to think of that mother's devotion and the struggle she and her little ones must have had for weeks after that storm.

Every time we have a heavy, soft snowfall - and every New Year's Eve - I remember that mama and her two babies.

And that is my New Year's Eve story, a day early.


Okay, people, haul out your sturdy little imaginations, because this is NOT a photo of the three deer in our back yard but with just a few minor changes in your mind's eye it will suffice. First, take out the steps, the lights and the benches. Then add a large deer and two small ones, a few half-eaten rhododendrons, and the distant glow of the streetlight that lives in front of our house. There! Isn't that lovely? Thanks, Pixabay, for coming through for me yet again.



Happy New Year, friends. I hope 2017 treats you well.


Do you have a favourite New Year's Eve memory you'd like to share? I'd love to hear it. 



36 comments:

  1. That is an absolutely precious memory. Thank you so much.
    The caring and the self denial of motherhood crosses species it seems.
    I hope the coming year(s) treat you and yours very kindly. Health and happiness to you all.

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    1. I know that parenting is mostly instinctive, but it's still amazing to see it at work. Thank you for your kind wishes, and they are returned to you and yours in full measure.

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  2. A charming event. My best memory of winter storms is keeping an eye on the two young deer who called the local golf course home several winters ago. It was a brutal time, and the two were late fawns who were too small to be on their own. They did not stay together; each frequented a separate area of the course. The one I kept an eye on the most bedded under a spruce tree by the road. Sadly, I found he had been killed, probably by coyotes. I lost track of the other.

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    1. I remember your posts about that fawn. Even though that's nature and it's all about the survival of the fittest and big-picture stuff, it's still sad when we see it up close, isn't it? Ah well. Not too much we can do about it. The cycle of life.

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  3. That is a lovely story of maternal devotion in nature.

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    1. It was very touching to watch - to get to see it in action.

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  4. You observed a very common things. Birds and animals have sense that lets them know bad weather is on the way and they eat well before a storm. Juncos are well know for appearing before dirty weather hits

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    1. It was the first (and only) time I've seen it in action but I'm sure it is common. I wonder if we have juncos here - something else to Google!

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  5. What a lovely story. I can't think of any New Year's Eve stories at all, we don't really celebrate the New Year in our family, but I wish you and your loved ones a lovely new year full of wonderful things.

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  6. This is a poignant meditation on the idea that even in the midst of great challenge our needs will be provided. You saw those deer finding nourishment in the blizzard because you were the one who would take exactly this meaning from seeing them, and share it here. Thank you.

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    1. Ah, Angella, you are sweet to say so, but really you are giving credit where it isn't due. All I saw and reported was the facts, ma'am - no hidden meanings :)

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  7. Well, other than NYE 1980 when I traveled to San Francisco (from Eureka) to see The Tubes play at the Old Waldorf, I don't have many good (or printable) New Year's Eve stories. I tend to stay in and avoid the chaos.
    It really amazes me how animals can live through times of snow up to their bellies, but I guess they either learn how or don't make it.
    Great story, by the way. You can find lots of wonderful things happening all around if you just pay attention.

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. But the unprintable stories are usually the most interesting, Doug :)

      Thanks for your encouragement.

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  8. I always spend New Year in, either cooking or watching movies or reading as it is a dangerous time to be on the roads. I hope yours is wonderful and wish you the best in 2017.

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    1. I completely agree about being off the roads. And also - introverts :) We is they :)

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  9. What a beautiful story. And somewhat sad, too. Mamas make sacrifices for their babies. This story squeezed my heart. Thank you for sharing it! It's so precious.

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    1. Beautiful and sad - that was my reaction, too! Thanks for coming by.

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  10. Thank you very much for sharing this lovely story that gives us a look into selfless love (and not only from the mother deer).

    I wish you and yours a joyous, healthy 2017!

    - Sam

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    1. Welcome, Sam - thank you for visiting. Happy New Year!

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  11. Beautiful post. Instructive, memorable and very well-recounted. Thanks, Jenny.

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    1. Thank you, Geo. It's still so clear in my memory.

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  12. i loved the story and the way you described it dear.
    {we either are not party lovers }thanks to blogging that you did not feel annoyed with snoring of your hubby lol.

    i am able to imagine the love of mother deer for their children who remained statue and let them graze .
    wishing you a little warm and beautiful evening of new year ahead .

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    1. Thank you, baili! Happy New Year to you, also. You made me smile about the snoring and blogging :)

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  13. JennyO! That it's such a beautiful story! I know that I'll think of it again and again when it snows. You are such a good writer!

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    1. Oh, now I will have a swelled head for ages, Dawn :) Thank you!

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  14. I clicked on your comment on another blog because of the cute donkey avatar, and here I am. Blogging is capricious that way.

    Great deer story - I love that sort of magical moment.

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    1. I've found so many bloggers exactly that way, Secret Agent Woman! I'm glad you found something here to enjoy.

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  15. What a lovely story! Happy New year to you and your family!

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  16. I like to think deer are made to survive the harshness of winter, so my money is on them. But this story is a great illustration of the devotion animal parents feel toward their offspring.

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    1. Yes, think positive! Although I've heard too many stories about deer that didn't make it to be overly optimistic. But it can't be changed. It's nature.

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  17. I love this story. Such a privilege to see animals relating and to think about what's going on. In my yard, it's squirrels!

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    1. Thank you, Margo. Squirrels would be fun, as long as they stay in the yard :) It really is interesting to see wild animals going about their daily lives.

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