Twenty acres and home

"She's back."

With those words from my wife, I raced to the window to scan the wetlands in our backyard.

The "she" was a doe, a white-tailed deer. This marked the third year she had appeared in late summer, when the grass is most lush and accessible in the muddy pool.

I confirmed it was "our" deer by using a spotting scope to check the markings on her hindquarters.

It was the first week after the terror attack on the World Trade Center. Reflections and connections came quickly.

In the open, vulnerable, the doe was clearly wary as she fattened for the winter months. I couldn't help but relate her gaze to the faces of New Yorkers staring at where the towers stood.

It would be the look on the faces of millions of Americans when boarding an airplane or a train, when driving through a tunnel, even when getting on an elevator.

Studies of white-tailed deer found in formerly rural, now suburban, areas indicate that females spend their lives within a 20-acre radius of where they were born, if food and water are available. They will raise their young there. Bucks will roam for miles from where they were born.

I wondered where I and my fellow citizens would find our 20 acres, the radius of our homes?

Jane Lampman's article gives us a clue (page 17). As individuals, and as a nation, we turned first to prayer and to our churches and temples and mosques. Whether we never moved, or found ourselves hundreds, thousands of miles from where we were reared, the comfort of God was sought, and found.

We can go home. And for millions of us, the radius is far more than 20 acres.


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