The Yearling

fawn-of-black-tail-deer-standing-in-grass-C1TK8WOnce spring brings new fawns, it isn’t long before the yearlings separate from the does and join the herd. I thought maybe it was the presence of a new baby that signaled to the yearling to leave her mother’s side.

Yesterday morning I think I saw how the separation actually occurs. A spindly-legged tiny fawn and her yearling sister wandered the field as their mother lay in the grass watching. The rest of the herd was grazing elsewhere.

Every few minutes, the yearling trotted up to her mother. The first time, the doe stood and chased the yearling off. After a minute, the yearling moved close again, as though she hoped for a little comfort after a rude rejection. Once again the mother chased her off, without violence, but with unmistakable firmness that I could feel from the top of the hill where I stood.


Navigating beginnings and endings is a challenge for most of us. Relationships often have to change, sometimes they end. Even sending beloved children out into the world can be a tough transition.

After a couple more tries, the yearling seemed to accept rejection. For the next 20 minutes, while I watched, she stayed within eyesight but never moved in close to the older doe again.

One early morning observation isn’t science, but I think I know what I saw. The yearling needed a determined maternal push in order to move on. She had to come to terms with a change she wasn’t prepared for.

Whether the mother struggled with the change we will never know; but I do so envy her ability to know when, and how, to let go.

15 thoughts on “The Yearling

  1. This was thought-provoking, Susan. Maybe we need to listen to our inner animal voice sometimes.

    1. Unfortunately for them, our deer are trapped in suburbia so it isn’t hard to spot them. With all the building going on I’m not sure how long they can make it. Too bad, we need to be close to nature as well as each other!

  2. I can put myself in both the mind of the mother and cold. Both want to be together but must now live independently. Great writing!!

  3. Your writing in this post touched my heart. I felt as if you were speaking directly to me in your wonderful loving nature. I look forward to every post.

  4. What a wonderful observation, and I think humans could learn a lot from the other creatures of this world. It reminds me of a mother bird coaxing her baby to jump and hopefully fly. Maybe we will never know the right time to let go or give that extra push.

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