The Stag of Christ Print
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 06 June 2008 08:41

There is a herd of deer that live on the trail above my house but we never see them in the park behind the house. Until this morning, when I was walking around the park just after dawn and a doe suddenly leaped out of the wild area of the park and ran eagerly across the lawn toward me. She ran the way a dog would run to a beloved owner. I couldn't believe it. "Is she tame?" I thought?

Then the deer suddenly stopped 30 feet from me and hesitated - as though she suddenly realized that I was not the person she expected. After a few moments of sizing each other up, she circled round me and ran off down the street. She did not seem to be car savvy so I was worried about her but couldn't possibly catch up and successfully herd her toward the trailhead a quarter mile up the hill by myself.

I've had a number of magical early morning encounters with our local herd, including having a buck with a rull rack of antlers pass me on the trail with the casual aplomb of a fellow jogger.

But the most magical was the morning when the same stag seemed to be leading me along the trail for a mile at least, waiting for me patiently around every new bend or viewpoint and then moving on ahead as my guide.

I was irresistibly reminded of the story of Placidus, a noble pagan who is hunting in the forest. He was" following an extraordinarily large stag, when the beast stood still, and Eustace (Placidus) saw between his horns a tall and glorious figure of the Lord Christ hanging upon the Cross, whence came a voice bidding him to follow after life eternal. Thereupon Eustace and his wife Theopista, and their two little sons Agapitus and Theopistus, enlisted themselves as soldiers under the Great Captain, Christ. " (from the Golden Legend)

This magnificent 15th century painting captures the original legend. Why not on a suburban greenway in the Rockies?