Deer In the Mist

Kirk would attach “by golly” to the end of many of things he would say. And he insisted, by golly, that I sleep at the river that night. I wasn’t in the best of moods that day, to be honest. Sojourner had kept me up the entire night before and I had a headache. We’d probably just ridden 30 miles to get to Kirk’s ranch and I’d been on the road just about 6 months by this point and I felt like I had little to give. I tried to sneak away and find a place to be alone when I heard Kirk say from the top of his horse, “Hold on there a minute…let me see where this little one is off to” and he came riding over. He wanted me down at that river.

My whole experience with Kirk was magic. And the next morning I sat in silence as a deer silently swam to me. I watched its tiny scramble of antlers coming from way down the river. I thought it was a pile of sticks but then I could see a head was attached. I huddled behind a log with my camera amazed that it was literally swimming to me. It was one of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever witnessed.

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Kirk laughed and smiled ear to ear as he crooked his head to see the picture I was showing him on the camera later that day.

The following morning Kirk’s daughter died. She had been fighting cancer and we knew the entire time we were there that it was only a matter of days. But Kirk gave us his all. He wanted me to see all the beauty the area had to offer. Nothing in him had shut down even though his life was turning upside down.

“That meant somethin’, you seein’ that, by golly, that meant somethin’!”

It did. It meant that there is magic in this world that can sometimes only be witnessed in little moments. It meant that people can touch one another so deeply in such a short amount of time that it can take your breath away. It meant that there is beauty that is so magnificent it can’t be expressed through words. It meant that no matter how fragile we are, there is life everywhere, and no matter how long our time here, we can have an impact, we can touch a person, we can make a mark, we can last a hundred life-times.

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