Everyone has a magical book or two they read as a child. One of mine was Kingdom of Carbonel by Barbara Sleigh. In it, there was a magical Country of Cats that was similar to where our rooftops are, but a little bit different. The children briefly get to enter this country at one point.
It was a very magical thing.
(Carbonel and its sequel, written in England in the Fifties, included a villain occasionally referred to as You-Know-Who, a Pettigrew, and a Tonks, among other familiar things.)
But this post is not about Carbonel.
This post is about wonder and magic and entering the Country of Deer.
When I was a child, I loved animals. I wanted to work with animals. I loved all animals, but especially horses, wolves and cats, and I loved deer most of all.
My family spent a lot of time walking in the woods. We saw deer at twilight, but almost never during the day. Even when the dog came along.
So, no matter where we were, I always assumed, somehow without really thinking, that the place the deer went during the day was ‘somewhere else’. Some ‘deep place’ in the forest. Almost as if they had a wondrous Country of Deer that only opened into our world at twilight, when you would see these magical creatures poised gracefully in the fields at the edge of the forest.
It never occurred to me that these beautiful creatures could be spending their daylight hours in the very type of forest I was walking through.
Until this week.
I have picked a new path for my morning outings. And, I keep seeing deer. A young one with new antlers peering through the foliage, a doe standing on an island in the creek.
Suddenly, I realized that this was where they lived during the day. There has been so much construction here, so many forests have been defoliated, that they have nowhere else to go. There is no longer a place too far for human eyes to see for them to retreat to.
I have found the gateway to the Country of Deer.
Who knew real life had so much magic in it!