Updated: Apr 7, 2021
A few weeks ago, immediately on the back of nearly a foot of snow and ice at Hope Springs, we were given several days of torrential rain. The morning of the rain’s end I took a sloppy and damp walk on the land. Everything was verdant and the creeks roared with a tremendous power. As I passed our beautiful ravine the water ran down its sides so that it looked like curtains hanging off of every rock and outcropping.
I had been on the hunt for a missing cat from the semi-feral family who, if you’ve been to Hope Springs in the last few years you know, roam the property and keep watch over this place. This missing one has always been on the fringe of our little cat family, coming in and out alone. I worried that, being alone, she didn’t find a safe and secure place to hole up during the snow.
It was on this walk, in search of my solitary cat, that I walked upon a herd of 6 deer quietly drifting across our field. I stopped in true surprise as they all slowly came to a unison standstill and looked at me. After a beat, each one gently lifted the white flag of their tail and silently floated into the underbrush. The moment has sat in my chest since, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the calm and ease with which they moved so soon after tough snow and rain. I can just picture the herd in the snow, huddled together and sharing the warmth and animal-camaraderie of waiting out nasty weather together.
We all go through storms like the one we had here, and often emerge tired and a little worse for wear. Like our tough little cat family here, or the herd of deer, or the land herself after the solemn stillness of a snowstorm. We emerge, perhaps with a great and mighty stretch like the creeks blustering and stomping down the ravine. Or maybe that roar is a keen of grief when we see what is before us and mourn we have lost. Maybe it is both.
I do know that time and again we, our animal sisters, and our Mother Earth step back into the sun stronger for having stayed together, like the deer, and more tired if we had to do it alone, like my snooty cat. I found that cat a day later, skinny and tired of the world, but much friendlier and willing to be held by me. Maybe she’s learned something from all this bitter winter we've just emerged from.
Maybe, and I hope it’s true, we all have.
~Victoria Brown, Executive Director