Monday, 22 June 2015

Meeting the Deer

I was driving home from the Summer Solstice gathering at An Grianan Aileach on Sunday morning around 6am, with a friend driving behind. My road was due to close for the rally at 10am so we were going to have a cup of tea before I was house-bound for the day.

We were on a straight stretch and I was admiring the beauties of the early morning when, in a split second, I saw a little troupe of deer to the left about to cross the road. One large, young deer stepped right infront of the car. In an instant I had the thought 'I will not kill that deer'. I have always wondered if I was in that situation would I actually put the animals life before my own. I now know the answer: I will act to hopefully save both our lives.

Time slowed down then and, although the following happened in a matter of seconds, it seemed much longer...

I was thinking and acting at the exact same time. The thoughts were very calm and clear and the actions fast and precice. I swerved dramatically right round and the one deer got safely across. The rest of the deer stayed where they were. I could hear the screech of the tyres and felt a momentum from the top of the car to topple over into the ditch. Miraculously the wheels stayed on the road and I came to an abrupt stop, my body having taken a lot of force.

Now stopped, I was so delighted to be alive. My body was catching up with itself as I sat still, aware that my friend was slowly driving on and stopping a few meters ahead.

I was on the opposite side of the road, pointing the wrong way.

As I scanned my body to check I was physically ok, a car full of boys pulled up. They were laughing their heads off and pointing at me. I slowly realised that they were all laughing at me, which seemed so strange as I was being so kind to myself.

I sat looking at them through the window, realising they were probably drunk. My first impulse, adrenaline generated no doubt, was to stick my fingers up and unpolitely tell them were to go. Instead, I breathed into my own aggression. The culture of the rally is something I have thought a lot about in the past year as it is so close to home now. What is it that makes us delight in danger and competitiveness? The risks are so high in the rally, not just to the competitors but to the people who live along those roads, to wildlife, to the peace of the land. But beyond the rally, even in our everyday lives, aggression and competitiveness bring so much suffering.

I mustered all my compassion, put my hands together and bowed deeply to the boys. They stopped laughing.

I got out of the car and the smell of burnt rubber hit me. My friend came over and gave me a wonderful hug. The boys started apologising and asking me was I ok. I thanked them and said I was. To lighten things up I suggested I would make a good rally driver with my quick reactions. They probably thought that was a bit naff, but drove off a little softer and kinder.

I looked around and saw that the first deer was waiting in the trees close by. We had a good, long look at eachother. I thanked her for moving quickly and felt her thank me for the same.

Her family were waiting on the other side for us to move on.

Deer are the symbol of gentleness in the Native American tradition. They remind us to love the light and the dark in ourselves and others; that the only way to disperse darkness is through love and gentleness.

We went home and drank our tea.

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