<a href=”mailto:ralphine3@yahoo.com”>By Ralphine Major</a>

They are nature’s beauty at its best and most often seen on Christmas cards or in wildlife  magazines.  But, Mother Nature may be found in our own back yard.  An occasional sighting in the dead of winter can bring a spark of life to dark, dreary days.  Sometimes, I nearly miss them with their camouflaged coats that blend in against the winter landscape.  A closer look almost takes my breath away.  I stop and enjoy the moment.  It is a rare gift, indeed, to see them.

Pastures that earlier produced huge bales of hay in the summer give way to frost in the fall.  It provides a perfect setting for them on an early morning wrapped in winter’s chill.  I have watched them stand motionless for minutes until the sound of a motor causes them to run.  The least sound can prompt quick movements of their head, aware that danger could be lurking in the distance.  They can disappear from sight in the blink of an eye, with only their beautiful white tail visible as they scamper out of sight.  I have seen them scale a fence in a vertical leap that requires no take off.

It was on a Thanksgiving morning one year that we saw four of them standing quietly in a frost-laden field.  Another time, we stopped along the highway to soak in the sight of a single doe looking almost lost in a field with cattle nearby.  Though they appear unannounced, these special visitors are always welcome.  Frequently, we see groups of them frolicking in the field or dashing through the backyard.  One such group we named Love, Joy, and Peace.  When we saw them again, there was an addition.  We called it Baby Noel.

They are things of beauty, these wild creatures known as the white-tailed deer.  I watched quietly from a distance as the deer pictured here stared my way while feeding on acorns.  It was God’s   gift on this winter day.  Then, in a fleeting moment, it was gone.