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Friday, July 8, 2011

"Stay"

My family drove past a mostly frozen lake in early spring. A doe and her fawn were crossing the thawing ice, but the ice broke and the mother fell into the freezing water. She thrashed and splashed her way to firmer ice and scrambled up, but the fawn was stranded on the far side of the open water. It was too far for the doe to swim back, and she stood on the ice in an agony of separation. The fawn skittered around on the brittle ice, but wouldn’t attempt to swim to his mother.

I can’t remember exactly how we rescued the fawn. I do remember getting long branches just in case Dad fell in. Maybe my sister was sent across the ice because she weighed less than Dad? The important thing was that we rescued the baby and found a tiny barn to put him in. My Mom and extra siblings went inside a big building, but one sister, our Dad, and I stayed in the shed.

I can’t remember how we got the shaman either, but if someone could find one, that would be my Dad. The old man came into the tiny barn after the sun was down and saw my sister and I playing with the baby. He laid out some interesting things on a rough table and told us to quit taming the deer. I was given the job of keeping it quiet, but told not to make friends with it. My sister and Dad sang and chanted with the shaman according to his directions.

It’s a pretty sing song cadence in American Indian prayers. The shaman rocked back and forth with his eyes closed, but my sister’s bright eyes took everything in while she played her part in the song. Dad seemed controlled and focused, and I held the fawn in place with the negative magnetism of my hands. Nobody told me how to do it. I just knew that my hands had energy to make him stay without touching. I was very serious about it.

This went on a long time. I had a lot of time to look at the fawn’s spots, eyes, ears, tail, feet, fur… I was lulled into the chant and both asleep and ultra alert at the same time. The fawn eventually laid down in the straw, and I sat beside him in the glow of the Coleman lantern.

I don’t know what nation the shaman was from (maybe Iroquois?), and I definitely didn’t know his language. Just the melodic syllables repeating in choruses, dried plants smoking in the air, waving feathers, more smoke, more singing, with the flute and a drum in between.

It could’ve gone on forever, but the doe appeared at last in the light cast through the open doorway. She was too nervous to enter, but the fawn knew she was there and stood up. The shaman gave me a nod, and I released him to his mother. They stood in the light for a moment and looked at the shaman before sliding into the dark woods.

The next day, I looked at a map and realized how far the doe had to travel to get around that huge lake. There were many inlets, and her path wasn’t easy. It’s no wonder it took so many hours for her to find her way to us.

I had a relationship with a shaman many, many years later. When I told him about this experience, I admitted that I always felt jealous my sister got to sing and pray for the doe’s return. He responded, “Did it ever occur to you that you were given the harder job?” Well, no, it hadn’t. But I like that idea, and feel very privileged to have had a place where I could observe magic.

This scratchboard art is small, 3 ¼” x 2”, but then, the fawn was small.

40 comments:

  1. What a wonderful story and life experience. And beautiful illustration. I gave you a shout out on my blog.

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  2. Thanks Sharon. I have to admit this experience has had a powerful influence on my mind through the years. Thanks for the shout on your site!

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  3. Really like you illustration 'scratchboard style'....The story is good too!

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  4. Really great scratchboard work, Linda. You are an accomplished observer of magic ;) !

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  5. What a precious little fawn! And what a great story to share with it! :o)

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  6. Both the illustration and the tale are magical.
    I can see how and why this has changed your life.

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  7. A beautiful story Linda and a lovely illustration. I'm so glad the doe got her fawn back!

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  8. Superb, Linda. Thanks. Just thanks. You made my day...

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  9. There's so much magic in the world (and in your picture). Too bad, that we don't listen more to it in daily life. I wish we had the same sensitive approach to ourselves and towards nature.

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  10. stunning image & tale. What a fascinating experience!
    Thanks so much for popping by with your kind words.

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  11. What an astonishing & magical story! It would make a great short film. Lovely illo too.

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  12. A really magical story there Linda and the fawn you created from your memories is just stunning. I like the fact this is tiny too!
    Enjoy your Sunday,
    Jane x

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  13. Wow!, I've haven't seen your site in weeks so I missed all your wonderful posts for IF, and I'm now trying to catch up and read back ones. Wow again! You've had such interesting experiences and you have such a gift for telling your stories and illustrating them. Truly love your paper boats as well as your fawn!

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  14. Thanks everyone! I just love it when my memories speak to someone else -- which is a great thing because we can't have deer falling in ice water every day and there aren't enough shaman to go around. I appreciate your comments!

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  15. I can hear the fawn trapped on the ice now, yearning for his mother, grunting in dismay: "D'oe~!"... (ala Homer Simpson).

    I always enjoy your scratchboard pieces, it seems to be your medium... more please.



    .

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  16. Wow, what a story! And a wonderful illustration - small and perfect.

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  17. What a fabulous piece with the fawn...wonderful!!! and heavens what an adventure of a story...wow....

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  18. Heisann!
    A fascinating story, and a beautiful illustration.
    Have a nice week, Linda ;:OD)

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  19. wonderful story and illustration..Thanks for sharing..!

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  20. Beautiful detail on such a small surface! What a great story. That could make a wonderful children's book!

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  21. Okay it must just be me but the retelling of what happened gave me shivers in my spine, - how cool is that, and how lucky are you to have that experience, but also that energy in your hands? And that inner self belief to recognise it. It's something that most of us lose or lack, that magic touch in our lives that makes life special.

    Oh your image is wonderous and captures the soul of the fawn - but I think that goes without saying. It's professional, concise and perfect - yet has another characteristic that suggests an inner 'life'

    see you :) !

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  22. Thanks so much! I'm starting to see that children's book in my mind. Hmmm...

    Andrew, reading your comment makes me think about a string of events in my life dealing with energy in my hands in different ways. That's making me think a lot too. Hmmm... Stay tuned! Something may come out of that :)

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  23. An amazing story and a beautiful and magical drawing to go with it, really wonderful!

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  24. Oh, Linda, your story, so poignant, so lovely and your scratch board, perfect. Thank you!

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  25. Thank you! I just love comments!

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  26. What a wonderful story and experience, Linda! It brought tears to my eyes. Not many people get to experience a shaman's magic firsthand. Very nice texture and detail on such a tiny piece of scratchboard.

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  27. Linda, my dear, this is truly a wonderful story...and an enchanting drawing to match. It would make an absolutely perfect submission to "Cricket Magazine!" You are such a great storyteller, and your educational posts are equally captivating...dual talents: art and writing!! Hope you are well, Susan
    P.S. Thanks for voting for "The Girl with Silver Hands!" :-)

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  28. Thanks for the idea Susan! I may do just that this afternoon :) Good luck with your contest!

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  29. What an amazing story! I can't believe I missed this before! Interacting with Shamans and indigenous medicine people, has always enriched my life and it's so wonderful to hear your powerful story. You've been exposed to magic, now you're spreading it!

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  30. Thanks Indigene! It's one of those memories that make me realize that there's so much more going on in the world than we realize. I'd love to hear other people's stories too.

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