When our family was young, we came to the Michigan cottage and its beach often. Something else we did was visit a small amusement park and petting zoo nearby called Deer Forest. We could ride a Ferris wheel, a small train and a miniature roller coaster, but our favorite was mingling with the animals.
It was at Deer Forest that I saw my first peacock. There were also foxes, goats, rams, wild turkeys, massive rabbits and plenty of deer. One quarter bought a Dixie cup of pellets, and I’ll never forget the soft noses that snoofed into my palm to get their treats.
Back then, it was difficult to see these animals in the wild, but today the tables have turned. Instead of paying an entrance fee to get close to a deer, most of us are trying to figure out how to co-exist with them as they boldly search for food in our yards.
One morning Jack and I came across six deer drinking at the creek, and I couldn’t hold him against his desire to give chase. Of course he couldn’t catch them. Each deer-leap equates to 20 Jacks-steps, and his thick body was no match. He even ran into a tree once, in his effort to zig-zag behind a nimble deer.
The abundance of deer has become a cause for people-frustration. They boldly square off with cars on country roads and cause accidents, some with serious consequences. Homeowners have put up electric fences, hung nuggets of soap or garlic, or put up chicken-wire barriers to protect their gardens. They’ve researched and planted flowers that have a bitter taste, in their efforts to keep landscaping in tact. Although the deer used to eat only the blossoms, now they consume the stems and leaves, too. Even hosta plants, never of interest before this year, are being chewed into sticks.
Yesterday while driving on an expressway, I spotted a beautiful buck (similar to the picture below) walking slowly across a railroad bridge over the highway. Every driver looked up as he flew under the concrete at 70 mph, and I nearly rear-ended a truck while staring at the deer in my rearview mirror. He was sporting a giant set of antlers and although he was in danger, didn’t seem to have a care in the world.
Of course the only reason he was on the bridge was a growling stomach, the fate of most citified deer. Except for occasional deer-hunting days in local forest preserves, their numbers continue to increase while food supplies dwindle.
I talked to God about this today, not asking how to help the deer as much as what he wanted me to learn from the situation. And tonight I think I’ve heard from him. Though there is a limit to the resources of the earth, there’s no “bottom” to who God is, how he works, or what he can do. His wherewithal is unbounded, and his power is inexhaustible.
Although watching hungry deer is disturbing, they, too, are within the scope of God’s control. If he wants me to do something for them, he’ll let me know what that is. Until then, my clear instructions are to meditate on his limitlessness and to give thanks for it.
”Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” (Psalm 147:5)