The Deer of Cozumel

As I write this post, my fingers aren’t cooperating.  They are very cold from just having walked along my path on the Yale golf course.  My heart is awakened from having had a really close encounter with a small deer.

There were 6 out in total today, but with the group of deer, I was really distracted by my camera and the effort to capture their movements.

I spotted this single deer at the end of my walk when my camera battery was flashing low, so after I snapped a few shots, I put it away and just watched.  This little guy just stood and studied me as I was studying it.  It’s curiosity, tenderness, calmness really spoke to me.

In August, we were taken on a cruise to Cozumel, Mexico and KeyWest, Florida.  I wrote a few articles about that trip, this post, and this article, and this post, but one story that I haven’t related yet happened on the island of Cozumel.

The cruise was originally supposed to go to Bermuda, but because of hurricane Irene, it was rerouted to Cozumel.  To the group with whom I was traveling, that wasn’t a big deal.  We were traveling together, having a great amount of fun being with each other, and the journey was the vacation, way more than a destination being the vacation.

Not so with the majority of the other passengers on board.  There was much grumbling and complaining when they were notified of the destination change.

So imagine how frustrated everyone was when we arrived for our one day stay in Cozumel, and it was downpouring.

Again, to our little crew, it wasn’t that big of a deal.  Because everyone with whom I was traveling were adventure travel guides, they were up for a less than ideal situation.  They were used to rolling with the flow and creating fun from unpleasant circumstances.

After finding a tour van company, our leader struck a deal with a van driver to take us to obscure places on the island – not the typical touristy destinations.  He heartily agreed, and we all jumped in his van to experience Cozumel the way that locals see it.


After visiting a few colorful places on the island, we ended up on a road that looked like it was in the middle of nowhere.  Suddenly, our tour guide became very animated and pointed to an animal crossing over the road a ways down.   To my untrained eyes, it looked like a deer.  But the way that the guide was going on, I strained to see some rare, exotic Mexican animal that we would typically only see in zoos.

As we got up closer to the animal, it clearly was a deer.  I expected to see signs of embarrassment on the face of the tour guide as he also realized it was just a deer.  I expected a conversation such as, “Sorry ladies and gentlemen.  What I thought was a rare, once extinct zoomaphorous, is actually only a deer.  Sorry for the false alarm.”

Instead, he continued on with childlike amazement.  We joined him in his excitement, for the pure fact that he was so elated.  Through his animated joy, he explained that he hadn’t seen a deer in over 15 years, and that everyone thought that there wasn’t a deer population remaining on the island.  We celebrated with him, and chatted about this experience with him for a few minutes.

Even after the conversation in our van drifted to other topics between our group, the van driver continued to shake his head, and mumble about not being able to wait to tell his wife and kids.  It was a touching moment to see him so delighted and amazed by a surprise of nature.

I have thought of him endless time over the past few months as I routinely have close encounters with deer.  I recognize that, for him, part of the wonder he experienced was because of the surprise factor.

I think that is why I keep returning to his face when I see deer – because, while I have come to expect to see deer on the Yale Golf course, I still am surprised that I am priviledged enough to have such great encounters with creation.  Every week, I have the same expectation and thrill when I get to walk amongst the beauty of of that land.

The awesomeness of interacting with nature is humbling – grounding.

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