Portrait of a Young Deer

Look! It’s labeled!

Tuesday night we were tipped this absolutely discernible photo of a deer.

At first, we could not see the deer.

But then, we mused, carelessly scanning the pixilation, if there were a deer, whose first thought would be to take a quality photo?

We remembered a morning long ago from our childhood in Vermont, when we snuck out of the house with our older sister to investigate a sound in the woods. Our cotton pajamas doing nothing to hold back the early fall chill, we were hunting a sasquatch or the ghost of John Cooper from the mill, but instead found ourselves face to face with the largest buck we’d ever seen. The golden green first light of dawn behind it, it was cast in silhouette, but we could just make out its eyes, enormous and black and intolerably alien and incomprehensibly familiar. We realized in that moment how small we were and how big the world actually was, how flimsy our protection from a great and terrible nature, and we understood that the only appropriate response to this was awe.

And thinking back, we wondered suddenly when the world had last felt this way. We considered life now, the problem sets, the case studies, the info sessions and interviews. We thought about how Don Quixote had become a chore and how Plato was just another assignment. We began to worry that we would never again feel astonishment, that we would forget we ever had. In a blind panic we recognized that our lives were fast becoming a living death, if they weren’t already.

And then we saw the deer! It was there all along! It has to have been! Isn’t that cool? And in Riverside Park. Amazing!