In the pinewoods of my inner life...

Image by hugsRgood (Click for larger version)

The Faces of Deer

When for too long I don't go deep enough
into the woods to see them, they begin to
enter my dreams. Yes, there they are, in the
pinewoods of my inner life. I want to live a life
full of modesty and praise. Each hoof of each
animal makes the sign of a heart as it touches
then lifts away from the ground. Unless you
believe that heaven is very near, how will you
find it? Their eyes are pools in which one
would be content, on any summer afternoon,
to swim away through the door of the world.
Then, love and its blessing. Then: heaven.

Mary Oliver in New and Selected Poems - Volume II

Image by Ahmd Nidalian


  1. When things look really bleak, it's hard to believe heaven is near you could ever find it. It's hard to look deep when things are so dark.

  2. Anonymous: The psalmist sometimes felt the same way and compared himself, thirting for God, to a deer, thirsting for running streams:

    As the deer longs for streams of water,
    so my soul longs for you, O God.

    My being thirsts for God,
    the living God.
    When can I go and see the face of God?

    My tears have been my food day and night,
    as they ask daily,"Where is your God?"

    Those times I recall as I pour out my soul:
    when I went in procession with the crowd,
    I went with them to the house of God,
    Amid loud cries of thanksgiving,
    with the multitude keeping festival.

    Why are you downcast, my soul;
    why do you groan within me?
    Wait for God,
    whom I shall praise again,
    my savior and my God.

    My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you...

    At dawn
    may the LORD bestow faithful love
    that I may sing praise through the night,
    praise to the God of my life...

    Why are you downcast, my soul,
    why do you groan within me?
    Wait for God,
    whom I shall praise again,
    my savior and my God.

    Psalm 42

  3. Psalm 42 is so beautiful. Thank you for posting it in your combox.

    Love the photo of the doe. A few days ago I drove to the top of my driveway to find facing me across the street two does with a background of greenery (firs, rhododendron bushes.) I wished so much that I had had a camera. It would have made a wonderful Christmas card photo.

  4. Yes, Concord Pastor, I suppose I do feel like a deer thirsting for water. I just get so far down I feel like I'm in a forest and can't find God.
    Thanks for the beautiful psalm.

  5. For some reason, ... the sight of deers always make me feel more peaceful. Maybe it has something to do with the psalms. Maybe it's a good reason we should all look to psalms of comfort when we are feeling at our worst.


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