Del Monte Forest, Monterey, California

My walk took me further than I expected. That often happens when I’m upset, and try to duck thoughts of the day’s events. When will I learn my lesson and avoid the news? But sometimes, it’s unavoidable. I wound along the trail into the forest with the birds making their spring chatter, my feet crunching on the path, and my breath cutting through my throat. As my body warmed to the work, I pushed past my comfort zone and hoped for some relief.

The path led across a bridge, and I stopped in my tracks. On the side of a hill, catching the last rays of the afternoon sun, sat a four-point buck, close enough for me to grasp a scent of musky air. He didn’t move a muscle, and his big, black eyes shined with a regal presence. Clearly, he saw me, and I stared back at him. The spectacle captured my mind. His calm, wildness seemed to permeate my whole being. I glanced around to see if there was anything that might startle him when I realized, the buck already knows. He doesn’t need to glance around to tend to the moment.