…the notion that, because there is in this world no one thing to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds, a word is elegy to what it signifies…
There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings, saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry. ~Robert Haas from “Meditation at Lagunitas”
I love the way the doe knows how to go through the tall brambles: She ambles her hips first to one side, then another; tosses her nose high to sniff the trails of air; and proffers only a passing glance to the chickadee on his slanted branch. She knows the way; she knows the turn of a hoof print here, to the right of the wild rose brier; there, past the tip of the raspberry twig; she knows the sun even before his fine arced dome appears on the eastern horizon, and she goes that way, into the still of the dew into the hills of the morning in through that path between the thorns that is so hard for us to see.
~Pat Campbell Carlson “Deer Wisdom”
The deer on our university campus stroll about like students themselves; they taste this, nibble that, try things out to see how they like it. It is rare for a cougar to stray down from the hills to campus so the deer find themselves unchallenged as long as they stay off the asphalt competing with four wheeled predators. The campus is a refuge from the world, an idyllic place to hang out, to see and be seen, just like students.
On our farm, they are not so unconcerned. Life is very uncertain; one never knows who can be trusted. Thorns define the pathways and to be safe, a deer must be willingly swallowed by the thorns. When I approach, she dives into an indiscernible opening in the brushy undergrowth and disappears, leaving no trace she was ever there. Yet I know she is, peering out from her camouflaged sanctuary, waiting for her moment, undisturbed, in the sun.