Archive for the ‘mule deer’ tag
I have been spending time in the hills when the weather permits, not often as the weather has been quite uncooperative in terms of heavy winds, dark skies, rain or very cool temperatures. On Tuesday I finally was able to get back into the hills to enjoy moments of sunshine, warmth and an intimate relationship with the earth and life.
It is interesting that each time I visit these hills which provide a sanctuary from the noise and the crowds, I am gifted with the presence of animals. I don’t always take their photos, but I go get to see them and they get to see me; this Mule doe for example. Of course, I am alone at these times, no distracting noises from other people or dogs which would break whatever bond exists. When others are present, the animals are seen, but only in passing as they run off quickly. When I am alone, the running stops. And finally, when they do move away, it is not in a fear response. I wonder why this deer stopped long enough to engage me, eye to eye over a short distance? What was she thinking? What was she trying to tell me? Did she want me to follow?
In searching for answers, I came upon the following:
Just as the deer has an uncanny sense of where to find the green freshness earth provides, we can ask the deer within ourselves to seek out our inner treasures. In meditation or day dream, go on a spiritual hike with the deer. See yourself walking in the woods with the deer leading you into amazing depths within your soul. Each step you and the deer take will lead you deeper into your spiritual knowing, and to limitless treasure within.
The deer (particularly the doe, females) has the capacity for infinite generosity. Their heart rhythms pulse in soft waves of kindness. Match that graciousness by offering your trust to her. She will reward you by leading you to the most powerful spiritual medicine you can fathom. (Avia Venefica, Behind the Signs: Animal Symbolism)
Ah, that resonates even if it isn’t a Jungian who has written the words. One of the things that I have learned is not to question the source of the words or images that resonate, but to look at the resonance itself which is tapping into one’s own psyche giving us the opportunity to discover something long hidden, something new-to-us as conscious beings.
Is she my guide or my totem? I have to say that she is a guide for me at this moment in time, one of many guides that have made an appearance in my life, guides that have been both animal and human.
A walk through the hills a few days ago allowed me to photography this Mule deer (as well as another found in a different valley) as I walked up and down hills in warm sunshine. This is a doe, a female Mule deer. As I walked I didn’t get to see a partner as the second deer I saw was also a doe. This photo has the doe beginning to move across the fields after she had stood still for a long time while I took photos. She didn’t even move as I came closer. It was only when I started to move on, away, that she decided to move. I couldn’t believe my luck in having such a cooperative subject for my photography.
Now of course there is symbolism, significant meaning for me when it comes to deer. The first deer I remember seeing was as a youth of 13 when I was riding with a family friend. This friend, a farmer and rancher, stopped his half-ton truck and calmly shot the deer even though it was out of season. I learned quickly that a deer was food, that a deer nourished those living in nature. The second encounter I remember (and it is always what one remembers) occurred during a night ride through the forests north of Lake Superior as the family drove east on a return to the city where I was born. It was late and I was the only one awake besides my father who was driving. I was 15 at this time. Though family life seemed to falling apart and I was again forced to go within at the loss of yet another school and the new friends I was beginning to make, this deer at the side of the road seemed to be telling me that I would be okay. Strangely enough, the deer on the side of the road was a male, a buck.
I have seen more deer than I could care to count over the years since then. Sometimes I was hunting with a rifle for food, sometimes I was hunting with a camera for my soul, a different kind of nourishment.
This is a mule deer that I saw alongside the road while driving home from hunting elk with a camera. I did get a few elk shots but the results were poor in the weak early morning light. But then again, being there and seeing the elk as well as a few white-tail deer was worth the hours of walking and getting up at 4:30 in the morning.
It is finally getting a bit warmer. Yesterday we got to 15 C., and today we are up to about 8 C. Definitely autumn weather which I appreciate. It is too jolting to shift from summer straight into winter.
In thinking about this idea of “jolting” I am reminded of the shock one receives when waking suddenly from a vivid dream only to have it almost instantaneously disappear. The affect remains though the dream is gone and often even the memory of having dreamt disappears.
Anyone having any knowledge of dreams from a Jungian perspective realises that dreams are the “royal road to the unconscious. Well, there is a second road, that of active imagination.
… the unconscious also functions during the waking hours. It emits a continual stream of energetic pulses that find their way to the conscious mind in the form of feelings, moods, and most of all, the images that appear in the imagination. (Johnson, Inner Work, 1986, p. 22)
With than in mind, what we assume about the constructs of our imagination are not really fictions at all. Every fiction we invent is really not a fiction, it is simply our imagination giving a voice to the unconscious. Study our “created fictions” and we will learn more about ourselves. In this way, I study my photographic images, photos that are really not pleasant accidents at all, but deliberate choices based on the unvoiced unconscious. Interesting ideas …
Thanks to my positive experience with the SoFoBoMo challenge, I have decided to enter into a provincial photo contest here in Saskatchewan, Canada. I am allowed to enter up to three photos in total into one or more categories. I chose to submit three photos which I will post here. The rules state that the photos can’t be enhanced in any way using software with the exception of some “minor” cropping. I submitted all three just as they came out of the camera without changes to contrast, light, shadow, colour, tint – whatever. The prize is small, but it really isn’t about the prize; it’s about doing it, going through the process. Thanks SoFoBoMo and Paul Butzi.
The first photo is entered into the category: People of Saskatchewan. My wife (the woman in the photo) took part in the Habitat For Humanity – Women Build 2008 and intends on repeating the experience this summer.
The second photo is entered into the category: Flora or Fauna of Saskatchewan. Just last week I got this photo of two mule deer just outside of our little town on the prairie.
The third and last photo was entered into the category of Saskatchewan Scenery. The photo contains a natural scene that could be found just about anywhere in the southern part of the province, a ripening crop, a grain storage bin and an old tractor tire – all found under the wide expanse of sky.
Does the environment play a part in the psyche of a person? In my opinion, it does. As adults, we often choose a place that best meets our needs whether it be for quietness and few people, or an urban setting that surrounds one with community. Choosing the place that best meets these needs feeds the soul. Any other place and one is left feeling restless, agitated, even negative. It isn’t really a contest between nature and nurture. As humans we need both – I need both.
Yesterday, I was out for an evening walk when I came upon these two mule deer about a kilometre from town. Thankfully I was carrying the camera as I got a number of different photos of these two. It had been a busy day with editing work on my latest book and doing some yard and garden work occupying most of the day.
During the walk, a very quiet time for both my wife and I, my mind soon was filled with other book projects, specifically books about my life in China. I probably have ten thousand photos archived from two years spent in that country. I guess that means that I will continue the work of sorting through photos and having them tell stories about life.
Now that I have finished two books for the SoFoBoMo challenge, I find that I am tired, both in body and in mind. But, it is a good kind of tired. Not that it is really comparative, but I think back to when my children were born. After each was born, my wife was tired and rightly so. But even though the work of giving birth was a herculean effort, the kind of peace at the end erased the pain of giving birth. That is the kind of peaceful state of tiredness that I am feeling after having given birth to these books. In a way, the creation of the books was yet another journey to be inscribed in the book, The Hero With A Thousand Faces.