Deer Know All the Mysteries of the Gems
in the Western Mountains of Maine
I live on a salt path to the sea. For deer they easily, comfortably trot down through the woods, across a path into a 50 foot section of lawn between my house and my neighbors, then plunge into ferns and fiddleheads, then they disappear into a wooded section of land and down a stony beach to the sea. One of the things that so impresses me is how silently graceful they are. I’ve been out on the land and come upon them 10 – 15 feet away, and not been aware of a deer presence until one looks up, freezes, then trots off into the bushes.
Deer are almost ghost-like in how they move through the landscape. It’s a light touch of deer to land. This is some part of the deer gem mystery. As they stand there on the land there is what they know, and what they see and sense, that surrounds their feet. Deer know where the gems are.
Walrus at Crystal Cove
One summer morning I went to the shore, climbed down the cliffs to the Cove, I was headed out to my sitting rock when I saw a walrus silhouetted against the rising sun far out on the low tide rocks. I stood for the longest time until the walrus moved and suddenly I realized it was a deer. As I climbed up to my sitting rock I could see the long spindly bamboo legs and the deer perched high on the rock and waves sweeping in with froth and foam swirling.
My next thought was he’ll drown out there. I’ve got to go out and help. Instantly the no man’s land of an acre of seaweed and wild rock crevices made it clear that it was impossible. I thought how would I wrestle the deer down? How would I get him back to dry land across the no man’s land of seaweed?
Then I thought, Cape Elizabeth Rescue, the wet team. They’d launch an inflatable, three guys in wetsuits. Again I pictured them trying to wrestle a reluctant deer into the boat. I dismissed that idea.
I watched. I thought, nature will solve this. I took pictures of the deer and a video. At one point I looked away, blinked, looked back, the deer was gone. Water was washing over his rock. I looked closer, could see him swimming up shore. He was headed toward Morse’s Cave Cove. It had to have been where he had come from. The rocks and seaweed were too treacherous at Crystal Cove for him to have walked out.
Wet Foot Prints on the Road
I had Forgotten About the Walrus-Deer
Sat on the rocks for a while as I do many summer mornings to watch waves, boats, and the incoming tide. Then I climbed out of Crystal Cove. I had forgotten about the walrus-deer. Up on the road, skirting the freshwater marsh I saw wet footprints up the middle of the road. I followed them around the corner, saw the rump of a deer, head end buried in the ferns. Walked up to within six feet, cleared my throat. The deer turned then bolted. It seemed he was pushing his luck. But then perhaps he thought the same of me.
A Light Touch
Deer move with a light touch across the landscape – feet, hooves in direct contact with the earth. When I walk barefoot on the beach there’s much I know about what I walk on – shells, seaweed, jellyfish. Feet have a good idea of what’s going on down there. I sense the deer do as well and are privy to all the best places to find gems. Deer though, keep their secrets well. They are not talking. Which means to find tourmaline and other gems in the western mountains of Maine we’ll have to do it the old fashioned way, by searching, excavating and mining.
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