Tag Archives: nature

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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Serene Saturdays #26

As anticipated, this has been a fantastic and full week!  It began with the visit from a long-time friend from Dallas who now resides in Seattle.  Such a great time of reconnecting.

And then on Wednesday, a dear family that moved away recently came for a visit and brought our college daughter with them for a long weekend.  I have been in a continuous state of smiling, whether from silly moments and fun adventures, or just from the full feeling of knowing that we’re all together again.

As a family, we went off on our own to create a dream day for our daughter.  She wanted a day composed of all things fall.  That included apple picking, pumpkin picking, going through a corn maze, and carving pumpkins.

I’ve already decided that at the end of this week, when everyone heads back to their places, I’m going to need my own sticker that says, “I survived watching everyone leave.”

This week I am thankful for:

* Friendships that feel like family

* Fall activities

* Carved pumpkins

* A family that really enjoys each other


Filed under Weekends

Yale Golf – AGAIN!

I know…I’ve already written about my boys attending the First Tee program at Yale Golf.  I’m sure you’re already sick of seeing the picturesque surroundings of the golf course.  However, I’m not done using this as a platform for sharing the amazing, peaceful scenes that this setting is creating!

I’m not sure when I became such a nature person.  I was talking about this to my husband, because I wanted to see if he had noticed the shift in me.  At some point, being in nature became a have to instead of a want to.

I guess I’ve always enjoyed nature.  As a kid, I was as avid jogger as much for the surrounds and quiet as I was for the exercise.  I always found comfort and peace running through the aisles that the tall corn stalks created.  I loved the rustic, simple life that I saw around me as people earned their living off the land.

But I think that the necessity of getting outside and into a natural setting became all the more important when we moved to an urban setting.  The scarcity of nature made finding it all the more essential to my peace.  It is like coming up for air after holding your breath under water for way too long.  The towering trees, the exquisite variety of sounds created by birds/streams/bugs/wind relaxes and replenishes me.  I am a better, more patient and calm version of myself when I am immersed in things so very alive.

As the leaves change, the scenery just gets more and more spectacular.  However, it also is a signal to me that the boys’ time in the program is nearing its completion.  Their last lesson for this season is October 31st.

I am already coming up with reasons why  I just must take a trip across town to visit the course!

The following video is a little shaky because I was trying to stealthily walk towards these two deer.  It worked for a little while!

This might be the last post about Yale golf.  It might not.  We’ll just see what next week’s adventures hold!  Until then, find a place or an activity that replenishes you – and thoroughly breath.


Filed under General thoughts

A Little More Yale Golf

On Tuesday I published a post about my boys’ involvement in The First Tee program run on the Yale Golf Course.  I thought I’d continue to share my experience on the course by posting a few videos that I’ve taken while there.  The first 2 are just nature clips (in keeping with my Sunday Morning Moments With Nature series), but the last one is a spectacular deer movie.

I am not the best videographer yet (it is a new Flip Video that I was given as a gift), but I hope that you can still get the mood/atmosphere of the serenity of nature.

This one took my breath away as I watched it unfold.  First of all, the little deer runs like a pony.  And second of all, to have the deer stop, look back over his shoulder, and then me being able to capture his 3 buddies coming was thrilling.

I hope that these moments gave you a few moments to relax, unwind, and smile.

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Yale Golf – Spectacular Views

My city’s Parks and Recreation Department offers a program called The First Tee.  It is a national program that brings golf to inner-city or economically disadvantaged young people.  It’s mission is, “…to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf” (as lifted from the First Tee website).

My boys joined the program, which in our area is run on the Yale golf course.

Every Monday, from May through October, we have traveled across town to participate with other kids 8 – 16 years old being trained by Yale golf pros on basic golf skills, the etiquette of golf, respect for others, patience, integrity, and sportsmanship.  It has been an amazing journey, with the boys learning so much, getting to be on the amazing facilities of the course, being trained by the best in the business, and meeting other kids their age with an interest in the sport.

Speaking of the facilities of the course, the Yale golf course is recognized as one of the finest examples of early American golf course design. Many recognize the layout as the best collegiate course in the nation – two of the holes have been rated among the 100 most difficult holes.  The website of Yale boasts that their course was voted the #1 college golf course in America.  It was designed to be challenging and gorgeous, dropped in the middle of a woodland, complete with swamps and lakes. It is quite removed from anything we experience within the urban surroundings of our city.

The program provides the boys weekly lessons, access to the course at any time, a golf shirt and golf hat, and, after completing the whole program, a new set of golf clubs measured specifically for their size.  To have access to this program, we paid $25/kid.  Unbelievable.

They have loved it.  Their instructors impress the boys every week with their knowledge, and their ability to pass that on to each participant. Every once in a while, the instructors demonstrate a stroke by hitting the ball full out.  My sons leave awe-struck with their teachers’ ability.   Due to this stellar training, my sons have improved exponentially. Neither of them had any previous formal training in golf.

Besides what it has meant for the boys, it has been a retreat for me.  I look forward to dropping them off, always planning time to walk the property.  It has spectacular trails (it is also the home of Yale’s cross country team) that wind through the forest and the natural habitat of eagles, deer, turkeys, etc.  The woods are filled with the sounds of cicadas, all manner of birds calling, squirrels chatting, and the crack of sticks as rabbits and deers bound over them.  Over the months that I’ve walked the course trails, there hasn’t been one visit where I didn’t see deer…lots of them.

As I breath deeply in the quiet and tranquility that nature provides, I am restored and recharged.

Today I went to the golf course simply because I needed to.  I needed a place to be quiet and think.  I needed a place to pray.  George Washington Carver said, “I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.”

I think that we all need those kind of places.  I pray that you find a place to quiet yourself and “tune in”.


Filed under Family and faith