Tuesday, March 4, 2014

An Unexpected Encounter with My Celtic Heart

I've been looking for him,
camera at the ready,
for eighteen months ~
and suddenly, yesterday,
there he was!

Rumors about sightings have flown
around this area for many months,
but I could never find him.

And then he disappeared this winter.
People worried that he had died.

I love muleys,
and I watch them every chance I get.

I felt sad to think the ghost deer was gone.

And sad to think I had missed
the chance of a lifetime to see him.

White deer run through legend and mythology
throughout time and geography. 

The Ghost Deer

They are revered around the world
but perhaps most of all by
Native Americans
who consider the white deer sacred,
a symbol of spirit.
Source:  protectthewhitedeer.com

Just last November in southwestern Colorado, 
The Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council
adopted emergency regulations
to protect a rare white mule deer
spotted several times
on the Southern Ute Reservation.

"The Creator has given us this gift, 
this animal, 
so we need to protect it," 
said Councilman Alex S. Cloud. 
Source: The Southern Ute Drum

I worry that something could happen to our local white deer,
even if it is appreciated and enjoyed 
by people lucky enough to spot it.

When I first learned of this rare animal,
my hair stylist was daubing color on my roots,
as we both peered at its tiny picture
in another stylist's iPhone.
(I do not regard my white roots as sacred!)

I thought it might be an albino, 
and from that point on, 
I was determined to see it!

One look at its beautiful brown eyes,
and I knew it was not an albino;
rather, it is leucistic.

According to Jim Heffelfinger,
an Arizona Game and Fish Regional Game Specialist, 
a leucistic mule deer is an "extremely rare genetic variant."
Source:  azdailysun.com ~ Jake Bacon, May 11, 2011

White or Dark, These Ears Are Soooo Big!
And Soooo Cute!

Albino mule deer have pink eyes 
and lack pigmentation throughout their bodies.

Leucistic mule deer lack melanin only in their hair.
Their eyes are brown and their skin color is normal.
(Do you think I could find out what that color is ~ NOT!
I'm going to have to consult my hair stylist who has field-dressed mule deer.)

The mutation that causes leucism
prevents pigmentation in the deer's hair.
Source:  senecahitedeer.org

My people were Scottish Celts,
and the Celts regarded white deer
as messengers from the Otherworld,
a blessed and hidden land.

I see this beautiful animal
with scientific eyes,
but I feel it  
with a Celtic heart.

Source:  You Tube ~ alpineinc1


  1. Hi Fundy,
    It's fantastic that it reappeared so you could take all these great shots!
    It is very rare indeed much more than a white corvid or black bird.
    Their ears make me think of kangaroos! LOL!
    Such cute faces!
    The last pic is my favorite with the sunny background!
    Keep well and keep those muleys around!!!

    1. Thank you, Noushka! The last one is my favorite too, which is why I placed it last! I love their faces, and I wish I could talk with them. I think they could tell me a lot about the world and life. They were tough to get pictures of because they would not come out of the shade into the sunlight. Darn things wouldn't pose!!!! But I'm sure you know all about that kind of frustration! Have a happy day, my friend!

  2. Replies
    1. Hey Keith! Isn't he beautiful! He's not a true albino because he has normal eyes (big, brown, and beautiful) and skin. Just his fur is that lovely white! I'm so glad that I finally got to see him! Have an awesome day!

  3. What a special blessing for you to see the White Deer! And thanks for all the great info about the difference between an albino deer and a leucistic deer -- didn't know that before.

    P.S. -- Your white roots ARE sacred, says The Cailleach.

    1. Thanks, Debra! I knew you'd get how I felt! It was and remains a special blessing! I don't care if my white roots are sacred ~ They're going to be covered as long as I have any say in the matter! LOL! Have a good one!

  4. LOL! You made me laugh out loud Louise!...about your white roots!! Funny lady!

    Yes, this was very interesting to learn about the difference between the two kinds.
    And how fortunate you were to come across the beautiful creature. One of the photos shows two deer in front of the white one as if protecting it. Maybe they knew it was sacred.

    And that last photo....looking straight at you Louise.....kindred spirits.
    Lovely post, thanks.

    1. Oh thank you, Jim! You know we teachers love to work a little humor into the heavy stuff when we can ~ attach an emotion to help the learning stick! I thought that those two deer looked like they were protecting the white one too, which is why I juxtaposed it with the Ute quote. I think all living things are touched by the Divine. I felt that strongly when he connected with me! Take care!

  5. Never seen a white deer before, never knew they were revered either, great shots indeed as always at your feed

    1. Thanks Pat! White deer are very rare, but they pop up here and there in news reports. Seeing it was well worth the wait. I hope I get to see him again! I heard from someone else taking his photograph that he's been hanging out recently in the nearby yard of a police officer. Have a sunny day at your bay!

  6. What a fascinating post! In all the time I lived in Estes Park, I never saw anything like this (although I did see quite a few anomalies...). You've got me wanting to explore your corner of the world with my telephoto lens... !!! Congrats on finally getting to see the White Deer and for the wonderful information you've imparted. I feel as if I've been back to school today! ")

    1. Thank you, Snowcatcher! This white ghost haunts the middle of Parker. I wish I had the patience to deal with a telephoto lens! I always have my Canon SX260 HS and extra batteries stuffed in my purse ~ like a Colt 45 in a holster! I have ordered a tripod, and it might even get here today ~ so we'll see if I can cultivate a little patience! Once a teacher, always a teacher ~ I can't help myself! LOL! Have a good one!

  7. Oh wow - what a treasure - and to be able to see it yourself, that is even better. The photos are fabulous. I saw a leucistic Red Tail Hawk about a month ago - I returned to the same spot and saw him again the next week, and nothing since. I stayed there and took photos until he flew off - I didn't know if I'd ever have this chance again.

    1. Hey JoAnn! A leucistic red tail hawk! That is awesome! I seem to remember that you posted some pictures at the time. I associate magnificent eagles with your blog! I hope you do get the chance again!

  8. Awww lovely pictures and a lovely sentiment.

    1. Thanks, Donna, for the comment on my photos and feelings! Regarding colds ~ my dad used to swear by a good slug of Scotch and then sleeping under the covers til the cold went away! LOL! Have a good one!

  9. He's beautiful. How easy it is to miss these little wonders in nature! Thank you for sharing him with us.

    1. Thanks, Crystal. He's a beauty, isn't he? Take care!

  10. And you got so many photos of him! Hopefully some idiot with a gun doesn't decide he'll look better on a wall.

  11. My thoughts exactly, Alex! Have a good one!

  12. Lucky you! It looks as though the deer are already molting by you. I can't believe those ears! It's great that through your encounter, we can all get to see this white deer. I hope humans don't harm it.

    1. Hi Barb! With all the temperature changes around here, the poor animals are probably confused! I agree ~ I hope the white deer will be all right. It just takes one! Have a good one!

  13. That is fabulous! I bet you were bursting with joy. Was your heart just pounding in your chest? LOL... What a beautiful creature. Lucky you for finally getting this chance. You know, I've always loved the Native American way of thinking, their respect for the land and animals, and their sacred beliefs. I find it all quite fascinating!

    1. Hi Martha! My first reaction was relief! I've been looking for this deer a long time, and I thought I'd never see it. I knew it was alive because a friend had spotted it a couple of weeks before after it had been unseen for a while. Then my heart was pounding, because it was such a beautiful animal. The Native Americans have gotten a lot of things right, but what European settlers over the years have done to them is abominable! The western mind is so arrogant in its worldview. Have an awesome day!

  14. Such a sweet series of photos! I wish I could reach out and touch these beautiful animals. :)

    1. They are sweet, Linda! One of the things I'm trying to do with my blog, in my small and personal way, is to show the beauty of the world and its incredible life. We take so much for granted! You focus on the good and positive in your blog, and I think that is so important! Have a good one!

  15. Replies
    1. It was awesome, Sandra! I saw Pompeii, and I loved it. I may post a review on it, and I'm definitely going back to reread your post on the movie. Have a good day!!!!!

  16. never seen a white deer before

    1. The white deer was something to see, Adam! I will never forget it! Have a good day!

  17. How very lucky you were to see it.

    1. Some people never see something like this in a lifetime! So I am lucky. Have a happy day!

  18. He's beautiful - and what a sweet face. I love the last shot, with the golden grasses and the red twigs in the background. What a treat for you to not only see him but get so many great shots!

    1. Thanks, Sue! These deer basically live in a big housing development with lots of open spaces and creeks, so they don't fly at the sight of a human ~ at least they didn't Monday. That gave me a chance to move about a bit and zoom in with my little point and shoot camera. The last photo was my favorite; but I also really love #4 because the deer looks so natural and vulnerable. Have a lovely Thursday!

  19. Beautiful, beautiful! Thank you for sharing. How lovely to be so surrounded by nature and wildlife. This reminds me of my wanting to do a Blythe named Fawn...

    1. Thank you, Jan. I often think of you and your family in Singapore. I know you do everything you can to instill a love of nature and wildlife in your children, but it must be hard in such an urban place. That said, I think Singapore is one of the world's greatest cities, and I long to return. My niece passed through about a month ago, going to and from Brunei, and I was wishing it were me! I love Borneo too! If you do a Blythe named Fawn, surely she will have lovely brown eyes! Take care.

  20. Hi Louise!
    Isn't life just one strange/phenomenal/curious thing one after another. Nothing is the same and will remain the same.
    We had sightings of a white moose here last year. I don't know what happened with that story. I'm intrigued.

    I wanted you to know that I appreciate all your kindness since we re-connected in these couple years. Your enthusiasm for life is contagious and is giving me ideas/hope/joy. Them's is a good thing too!

    I'm re-couping with Jim's loving hands so I know things will get better. Sophie snuggles constantly. We took her to the Doodle hair salon yesterday. She is short short short now. So much easier to manage AND she loves it. She told me so!!

    I will try and keep up with all the blogs but something tells me it just may take a little longer than wanted.

    Hi to Terry and all the best!


    1. Ron ~ You have no idea how wonderful it is to see Ms. SD's icon in the comment section! You're back, which means that you are definitely on the road to recovery! Jim's hands better be loving! If they weren't, I'd personally thump him on the head when I come to Nova Scotia this summer!!!!! Fortunately, I don't think that will be an issue!

      Man, you gave us all a scare; although I had, and have, complete 100% belief in your ability to get on top of this challenge!!!!! Look at what Jim has come back from in the care of your loving hands!!!!! I think situations like this only make us stronger, and we learn even more how precious life is and how blessed we are if we have wonderful spouses like your Jim and my Terry.

      Thank you for your kind words!!!!! I have loved reconnecting with you!!!!! You and Jim, and Sophie too, bring me joy, hope, and ideas!!!!! I'm going to raise a glass of wine at Parkway this evening to you and Jim and SD and Terry and living life.

      Don't worry about the blogs. Just do what you feel you can. I've really found that bloggers get all kinds of things! When I came out of the hospital in July, I had to do my first workout with my trainer Julie sitting in a chair. I could hardly do anything! It was so discouraging. But I just kept moving forward session by session doing the best I could as dictated by my recovery. But you should see me now! This week I was balancing by standing on one foot on the flat side of a bosu ball, doing a leg squat, picking up a penny from the bosu ball with my opposite hand, and then coming out of the squat 5 times in a row; Then switching to the other foot. 3 sets!!!!! That was just one exercise in my workout. Watch out Waikiki, here I come! My point is, start where you are and keep moving forward as you can ~ You'll get there!

      The world would be a much darker place without you in it, my friend!
      So push ~ but not too hard!!!!!

  21. Louise,

    Last year there was an albino moose shot during the regular hunting season on Cape Breton Island. An enormous old bull. The Mi'kmaq were outraged and lobbied the provincial government to create a law to protect "sacred white moose" and other albino mammals they believe are sacred.

    1. Hi Mark!
      I think Ron was referring to the same moose (above).
      How sad! I don't understand why someone has to shoot an animal like that. Although, objectively, I realize that every moose has value. And I do understand that hunters help keep populations of animals from becoming out of balance. I'm not a hunter, but I've had many hunters as friends over the years. Most hunting is not preventing humans from starving, so couldn't one just pass on an old white bull and get the next brown one? I, for one, hope the Mi'kmaq were successful!

      It was great to see your comment! I hope all is well with you!

  22. Wow, I can imagine how excited you must have been to see this - I get excited seeing regular deer! I've never seen a muley before and just love those ears - so cute! x

  23. Oh Julie! I just found this!!!!! So sorry. I was very excited! And relieved because I had been looking for this deer for about eighteen months! I was always sensitive about how big my ears are and about how they stick out. But now I feel no anguish about them. I think of lovely Arwen in the Lord of the Rings movie, and about my wonderful muleys who are adorable! LOL!!!!! Have a good one! x


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.