Deer on Retreat

I’m preparing to attend a ministers’ study group in just over a week.  We meet twice a year for three days in eastern Massachusetts.  We gathered for our convocation last April at a retreat house on Cape Cod. The chapel there had a wall made entirely of glass.  One morning there were deer on the other side as I entered for the morning prayer service.

“Deer on Retreat”

The doe was already eating when I entered the chapel.

She looked up at me through the wall of windows behind the altar,

paused and glanced over at the fawn by her side.

Satisfied all was safe for the moment, she resumed her breakfast.

I remained still, looking at her and her young one

until her eyes locked mine once again.

I had come for the morning service,

but this communion was more important.

Two steps towards the unstained glass separating us

didn’t startle her off so I sat in the front pew

and we contemplated each other for a moment, she and I,

while her child ate what was left of the morning meal.

I wasn’t sure who was watching whom pray. Both of us, I guess.

I was the one on retreat, but it was the doe and her fawn that broke the ecstatic moment

and bolted for the woods, irritated it seemed to me,

that I had disturbed their sanctuary.

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