Fifteen feet above the ground while the light comes up, again, this begins Season 2 of The Deer Have Nothing to Fear.
Waiting in the dark for my friend, I see a shooting star, and moments later a screech owl gives off its lovely, quavering call close by. In a few minutes, the same crossbow sits upon my lap, a broadhead loaded in the flight groove, the three red dots of the sights glowing inside the scope, but it is the other light that seduces me, the first light of pinkgreen shadings, the great stillness like lungs before a vast intake of breath.
The jays begin first, screeching as if little maniacs had climbed into the canopy all around me. Then crows. Then catbirds and cardinals, and stirrings all around, and much later vivid snorts and coughs that sound like someone hacking at volume, deer deep in the woods behind me catching my scent and warning others. The respiration of all this life, this levitating power, this light that is in itself another form of the laying on of hands.
No deer comes near me, which is fine. I’ve received everything I came for.