Tales of a Golden Heart, Chapter 14: Doris and the Doe

–All things are my guru. __Milarepa

Minnesota’s North Woods evoke images of Paul Bunyan and his giant blue ox, except that the trees still stand. Evergreens blanket the slopes in this land of ten thousand lakes, occasional birch trees adding magic with their patterned white bark and memories of Indian canoes. The haunting, indescribable sound of the loon brings smiles to the faces of resort tourists and longtime residents alike.

On Lake George, two or three small boats are all that ply the waters, even in midsummer’s peak season. Perhaps two fishing sorties and one water skier, a graceful young lady towed swiftly but carefully behind a brother in law’s boat while her non-swimming husband watches from shore. Later, perhaps, the non-swimmer will top one of the tree covered ridges flanking the lake, pretend he’s a frontier scout or a primitive warrior, climb a half fallen pine tree, and come home with thirty-three wood ticks swarming about his clothing and burrowing through his hair to prove how closely he has embraced the dying tree.

Then, tickless, shaved and showered, wearing fresh jeans and a flannel shirt beneath a brush jacket suitable to the cooling night, he might also join the rest of the family for an evening of quiet outdoor banter around the big, circular brick barbecue. Hotdogs, marshmallows, steaks, and fresh caught lake trout compete for attention, topped off by group songs or tales of ghosts, wounded grizzlies, north woods wolves, and the like.

Following such a vacation one summer, three of us drove south, angling down uncrowded freeway lanes toward South Dakota and the morrow’s workaday grind. It was the Fourth of July, but traffic remained light. Doris, middle aged and owner of the big Ford LTD, rested in the back seat as I took a turn at the wheel. The talk turned to automobile wrecks and her fear every time she took to the highways. She had reason. Some years earlier, she’d been severely injured in a crash with her daughter behind the wheel.

“Not to worry,” I assured her. “While you’re with us, there won’t be any crash. The protection of the Mahanta is too strong, unless there is a need for the experience–and I don’t need the experience.”

We also talked about the Hu, an ancient name for God found in every language, human or otherwise, one of the most potent words a human being can use in any crisis.

“You know,” Doris mused, “I have to admit I find what you say interesting, but I’m not at all sure about this. It’s really different from what I’ve been taught all my life.”

A Lutheran minister’s widow, she seemed curious and a little cautious at the same time. She stared out at the black night surrounding us, a deep moonless darkness relieved only by the steady blip-blip-blip reflections from the freeway’s center lane striping and an occasional set of headlights sneaking up from behind or zipping past from the opposite direction. Her thoughts seemed to turn inward; one could almost hear her mental machinery humming and clicking as she evaluated our conversation.

“No,” she said at last, the words coming slowly, “there is no way I can believe–”

A deer stepped out in front of the car.

“HU-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U!!” The ancient name of God bursts from my throat with greater speed and power than nerve endings can comprehend. The big blacktail doe in our path reacts immediately, ignoring the rules to which we think the universe operates. I grew up in deer country and have seen dozens of the animals caught in headlights. Always, they react in one of three ways: Hesitate, reverse, or try for the other side. This one has no time for any of that; a full pivot would take a millisecond too long. Impact is certain.

But no. She spins on her haunches ninety degrees only, whipped around by the force of the Hu so that she moves in the same direction as the big Ford. We hurtle past at sixty miles an hour, roaring green-painted steel missing soft flesh and stiff brown hair by less than an inch. The entire maneuver finishes its play before my foot can lift clear from the accelerator, let alone reach the brake. By the time my resounding Hu trails off into silence, the startled but still healthy doe has disappeared into the night a quarter mile behind us. For a long moment, the only non-machinery sound in the car consists of hissing noises as all of us catch our breath.

Doris speaks first. “That was close!”

Her words break some sort of dam within me; words spill forth. “Yep. Great demonstration of the protection I was telling you about. Did you see the way she turned?”

“Uh–yeah….”

“I’ve never seen one turn just that way, or quite that fast. She spun the instant the Hu hit the air. My foot never even got over to the brake. We definitely would have smacked that deer all over the highway–except for the Mahanta and the Hu. I told you you were safe with me at the wheel. Right? Feel safer now?” Part of the word rush feels like relief and exultation combined, but I do have a habit of belaboring the obvious.

“Well…something strange happened.”

When I saw Doris again six months later, she admitted she continued to wonder about that night with the deer on the road in Minnesota.

Footnote: Helen, a frequent speaker at Eck Seminars, visited our South Sioux City, Nebraska, Seminar the following year. She listened to the story of Doris and the Doe and began to think, Why, I’ve never seen a deer on the road like that. I wonder…. Not long after, a big buck stepped in front of her car without warning. She barely avoided the animal, reminding herself firmly from that moment on to be wary of accepting another’s story image lest it manifest far too well. This chapter, then, could as well have been titled, “Helen and the Buck.”

Or perhaps,

The Hu and the deer
And the buck stops here

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For our readers who may not recognize words like Eck, Hu, or Mahanta, the definitions can be found in A Glossary of Eck Terms at Eckankar.org.

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