Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Ghost Deer in the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge

April 8, 2014

2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge
A Rural Life
Day 7

G is for Ghost Deer

Welcome to the second week of the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge! Thanks for stepping into my world Between the Keys.


About seventeen years ago we began to hear rumors of white deer on the mountain. There was some discussion as we considered the source of this rumor, but we couldn’t discount the possibility. Albino deer are not an extreme rarity although my at the time eighty-eight-year-old grandfather, who'd lived here all his life, had never heard or seen any in our area. We were naturally curious and so kept our “eyes peeled.”

The story was eventually given credence when a local park ranger snagged a picture of a white fawn. My grandfather and I were ready to hike out at night and conduct a stakeout where we knew the deer came to the creek to drink. We had to get a look at this bambi. Unfortunately Pop mentioned our plan to the wrong family member (that being my mother, his daughter) and we were promptly grounded after dark. We didn’t give up hope, though. It took another two years for our patience to be rewarded.

The dog woke me one night with what I immediately recognized as his “critter” bark. I would have rolled over and gone back to sleep but it was autumn and I’d left the bedroom window open. It was cold. Half asleep, I staggered to the window, noted in some foggy part of my brain there were ghost deer in my front yard, closed the window and went back to bed.

Yep. You got it.

I woke up in the morning and realized what had happened. I used every foul word in my vocabulary and friends, I have an extensive vocabulary. There had been two white “ghost” deer in my front yard, two beautiful ethereal wraiths, and I had just gone back to sleep. Someone smack me, please

I couldn’t tell my grandfather. He’d stay up for a week sitting at his kitchen window watching into the night if I told him. I needed something else to happen, and it did. The next week as my partner and I were driving home from bowling, we were given a gift. Standing under the dusk to dawn light at the neighbor’s barn was a white doe with a late season fawn at her feet. We bolted to my grandfather’s door, hopped back in the car and let it drift down the hill. She was still there.

The three of us sat there in silence watching her for the longest time. She was worried about us, stomping her hooves and shaking her head and tail, but her baby refused to get up and run away and she refused to abandon it. Finally we decided to start the engine and leave her to the night. That did it. The fawn jumped up and ran into the darkness and mama followed. That was the only time my grandfather got to see the ghost deer. I was more fortunate as my picture attests. The ghost deer took up residence in the woods behind my house and frequently grazed in my back yard. There were four ghost deer living one year. I believe they were all doe because I never saw a rack on any of them. We know the last white fawn died young. Pop was out walking one day and found its body near the creek. 

The ghost deer have vanished from here again but maybe some day the gene will resurface and my woods will again be home to the white deer. I do hope so because I’d love for the new generation to see them, but I realize they may not even care. I already see the signs they won’t have the deep roots to this place my cousins and I do.

That will be as is. For myself, I feel the universe had given me a scared trust. I will ever be grateful for those few years the ghost deer lived in my woods.


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Arran in Focus said...

We occasionally get white deer on the Isle of Arran, it is supposed to be the harbinger of death for a certain family here!

Julia Matthews said...

That one beautiful picture. Never seen one like that before. Thanks for sharing it.

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

We had a white stag around here for a while; he was beautiful. Such things are seen as omens for some families, but we just like looking at them.
Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
FB3X - AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

KC Kendricks said...

Once you got a good look at their eyes, it was pretty obvious they were true albinos. I can surely see why an animal with those red eyes could be considered a harbinger of a death. But they were beautiful animals and I feel lucky to have shared space with them - even if they did eat my daylilies and hosta.

Bob Scotney said...

Fascinating. That's an animal I'd love to see and to be able to photograph.

Crystal Collier said...

Beautiful deer. I grew up in the foothills of the mountains and deer liked to eat or garden. Never saw any ghost deer, but it was fun to watch the others.

Christiane France - Author said...

What a lovely memory. I had no idea that white deer even existed.

KC Kendricks said...

They were very special, that's for sure. I feel so blessed to have lived in the country all my life and to see the wild things around me.

Herding Cats - Burning Soup said...

Oh how neat! I've not seen one myself. Would love to one day :)

Happy A to Z-ing!
herding cats & burning soup.