Staying Focused

Living rurally provides me with opportunities to enjoy wildlife of several varieties, literally on my doorstep. You’ve seen photos and read stories here of deer in our garden, bear on the back lawn, raccoons on the deck, and a great assortment of birds and critters at our feeders.

Deer 3

This nice looking buck appeared in the back yard early in July. It was the first buck we’ve seen here … at least, the first one bearing a set of antlers. He had a doe in tow who was casually munching on my rhododendrons. She wasn’t concerned that I stood in the window taking her photo; her buddy was keeping a wary eye on me. When I started moving to a different window for a better shot, he told her it was time to leave, and they immediately disappeared into the woods.

Deer 2

In August while we were driving in a town on Vancouver Island, we encountered this doe on the lawn of a church. We pulled over and I rolled down the car window to take her photo. She apparently decided I was relatively harmless, and she returned to nibbling the grass. Still, she kept a cautious eye on me while slowly working her way to the back of the church property where I lost sight of her in the trees.

Deer 1

This doe was either very smart or very stupid. Last week our daughter’s Rough Collie was on the back porch of their rural home in Cranbrook, barking furiously at the brazen intruder. Perhaps the deer recognized that the dog was on a chain, because she showed no concern, just continued to stand and stare.

Deer 4

After several moments, a noise in the bush caught her attention. I’m not sure how she even heard it over all the barking.

Deer 5

Her ears perked as she evaluated the disturbance.

Deer 6

Deciding it was a possible threat, she turned to face the woods. Then her tailed flagged, and before I could take a final shot, she wheeled and bounded off in the opposite direction. Only seconds behind her was the neighbour’s tubby Basset Hound, running as fast as her stubby legs would go … easily outrun by the swift deer.

The deer have a lesson to teach me about focus. All too often, both as a writer and as a follower of Christ, I get hung up on trivialities and miss out on the important things. I need to pay more attention, evaluate situations and respond appropriately. I believe it was the Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca who said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

I need to be better prepared and learn to focus on what matters so I’m aware of opportunities when they occur. How about you?

~  ~  ~

Deer Friends

The fawn hesitates, oversize ears rotating as he watches me take his picture from the window. I’m sure he can’t hear me, but he stares unblinking, hoping the shape of me behind the glass is nothing. Hoping he is invisible.

On his rump there is a curious black and white mark that identifies him as the same youngster who has been visiting all week.

At the edge of the woods his mother hovers, nibbling snippets of cedar that were flung to the ground during last week’s windstorm. Despite the distance I sense she has seen my eyes fasten on her. When I shift my body ever so slightly to put the camera on the coffee table beside me, she stops munching. The bough hangs from the sides of her muzzle as she stands frozen in mid-mouthful.

I glance back at the fawn, still motionless, and when I return my gaze to his momma she has glided to the edge of the yard and stands alert, peering through the arbour.

“You’re too close to that house, sonny,” I think she says, because the little one leaps away to join her. Within seconds they have disappeared down the pathway to the marsh and I am alone again.


Ah-ha, you think. Here’s a post that has nothing to do with writing. But you’re wrong because it was a moment to share with you, and I had to write it first.  As in photography, it isn’t finding a subject that’s important… it’s finding the words to frame it. In this case, finding ways to express thankfulness for the blessing of ordinary days. And I am thankful for the sweetness of this moment.

What ordinary moment are you thankful for today?


I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart. [Psalm 9:1a]

Salad Greens and Aborted Efforts

Lenten Rose

Warmer pre-Spring days urge new growth in the gardens. It’s such a delight to see signs of the coming season everywhere. Buds are bursting on our lilac bushes and in the woods around our home, while the Lenten rose blossoms and leaves of emerging daylilies dip and sway in the still chill breezes.


Not all is idyllic, however. Elsewhere on our property the deer have made salad of the lily spears, munching them off with scissor-like precision. Drat those deer! The lilies will eventually bloom – they manage to do so every year – but it will be later than everywhere else, and the clumps will look tattered. I should relocate them to a less visible location but I tend to ignore the damage and hope that the availability of this convenient meal will distract the deer from other tasty tidbits elsewhere in the garden.

Munched Daylilies

In your writing, when new ideas begin to emerge, do they always reach maturity? What can mar your earliest efforts? Do you always abandon them or is it possible to find something worthwhile to salvage?