Earlier this spring I asked the deva of deer to help me find balance and harmony with their booming population. We purposely grow enough veggies to share, and I try to do the same with my hostas by planting offerings on the margins. Used to be that they munched a bit here and there, but in the last two years the deer have consistently wiped out my collection. They are literally left with no foliage by August. If only the deer kept to the contract set on my terms! I wish they wouldn’t keep munching down my pretty hostas and keep to the plain old greenies. I wish they would give some of my veggies a chance to grow big so we can all enjoy. (RIP brassica.)
It has vexed me because I don’t like to be in a combative position against nature. My intention is for this garden to be an expression of the natural abundance of life in a dynamic dance of balance. As a gardener, I’ve been challenged by the need to intervene where the balance is thrown off and figure out how to establish boundaries that acknowledge that this is not “our” land but a place we are co-creating with nature.
I’ve noticed that every time I get frustrated with the deer, it is always in the aftermath. Yet when they are actually in the garden, and they let me be in their presence, it is a magical experience. One night I was awoken during a full moon and went out to witness half a dozen deer in the yard. It felt like being graced by Artemis, goddess of the moon and the hunt, to whom deer and all wildlife are sacred.
This morning, encountering the pair of fawns who reminded us uncannily of our two cats in their mischief, companionship, and playfulness, I was reminded of my 2020 manifestation mantra: “A heart like the sun.” The deer are teaching me to expand beyond whatever inner sense of scarcity I still harbor and find joyful and graceful ways of continually finding balance.
The deer have eaten all the lily buds and blossoms by now, but this year we saw more in bloom than last year, and for that, too, I am very grateful.