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  • Writer's picturePenny Harter


Updated: Jul 16, 2020

Here’s a poem from today’s ride. These almost daily drives are my escapes from the drone of the television with its constant barrage of mostly bad news, or the machinations of social media. Getting out relieves anxiety provoked by these surreal and frightening times.

In the Shadows

Despite the cooling car, today’s ride is

so hot and humid that I slow down in the

shadows cast across the pebbly macadam

by tall oaks and creep along, hoping to find

again the grassy lane that runs into the woods.

Down that lane yesterday a deer stood on

spindly legs, freely nibbling fresh green shoots

along the wooded edge until she noticed that

I’d stopped to better see her. Sadly, she froze

in place to stare back, her delicate body alert.

Although I doubted that the deer would reappear

today, I longed for another moment’s grace that

would lead my spirit down that lane, lure me

from my time and place into deer time. And I

hoped not to frighten her.

And she was there, this time with two fawns

who seemed unafraid of my car, leaning against

her flanks. I was happy to learn that my deer

was a mother, guiding and protecting her young,

knew that was why she froze again in fear.

I seek glimpses of lives that aren’t my own,

am grateful for this grazing deer family—for

their freeing me from my own frozen stance

these endless alien days, and for calling me

to home on this planet that we share.

© 2020 Penny Harter

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