Tunes for a Monday Morning
The stories that demand to be told

Deer prayers

Three Does and a Kid by Donna Howell-Sickles

This morning when I looked out the roof window
before dawn and
a few stars were still caught
in the fragile weft of ebony night
I was overwhelmed. I sang the song Louis taught me:
a song to call the deer in Creek, when hunting,
and I am certainly hunting something as magic as deer
in this city far from the hammock of my mother’s belly.
It works, of course, and deer came into this room
and wondered at finding themselves
in a house near downtown Denver...

- Joy Harjo (from my favorite Harjo poem, "Song for the Deer and Myself to Return On")

Stray fawn in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico, July 2013

Queen Anne's Lace, Devon

...And so we close our eyes when we pray to seek the blindness
that offers a window into the world,
                                                     & the world within this one,
sudden rain so fine it could be just a trick of the wind & the light,
                                                                                            there & gone,
as the deer move off, through the silky wilds
                                                                of Queen Anne's lace,
through clover scatter-brushed in the grasses,
the long grasses that hold the traces of their passing

for a moment only, & beneath the old pear trees
already heavy with their suns,
with the cities of clouds the caterpillars
have spun for their tombs
                                     as they move from this life & into the next one.
And we, with our rain-limned bodies, listening
for the echoes of our prayers to return,
to the aethereal bodies drifting so close
                                                       & out of sight,
listening hard for the sound of our own disappearance.

- Mark Wagonaar (from "Deer Hour Gospel")

Deer Amonst the Trees and Forest Deer Trio by Tony Abeyta

I'd seen
their hoofprints in the deep
needles and knew
they ended the long night
under the pines...

I was thinking:
so this is how you swim inward,
so this is how you flow outward,
so this is how you pray.

- Mary Oliver (from my favorite Oliver poem, "Five A.M. in the Pinewoods")

Deer Dancer by Tony Abeyta

Hunting Processional by Tony Abeyta

I somehow overlooked these deer pictures (from the American South-west) during our Deer Week back in early July. The drawing at the top is "Three Does and a Kid" by "cowgirl" artist Donna Howell-Sickles, from Texas. The paintings are by Toby Abeyta, a young Navajo/Anglo artist from New Mexico: "Deer Amongst the Trees," "Forest Deer Trio,"  "Deer Dancer," and the two-part "Hunting Processional."  Please visit the artists' websites to see more of their beautiful work. The deer photo is of a stray fawn found at the City Hall in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexio, this summer. It's now at the Wildlife Center in Espanola and will be released into the wild after rehabiliation.   

I should mention that it's going to be a particularly busy month here at Bumblehill, due to deadlines, guests, and a family member's impending move. I'll keep posting, but the posts may be shorter & quicker over the weeks ahead. I''ll continue on with the  "Into the Woods" series when time permits, and will return to it fully in September.