Revisiting Raven's Path

These photos came across my Twitter feed last week and it reminded me of a scene in Raven's Path. The time is 1750 in the Ohio Valley. Brandan "Raven" Murray is in the woods considering abandoning Ana, a woman he has pledged to see safely to her father but who seems to be thwarting his attempts to do so. She is a woman he wants to protect and has grown to think of as his little deer, ma petite faonne. This moment brings him full circle back to her.

Some rustling caught his attention. He crept forward, crouching low, and hid behind a low-lying cluster of brush. A shaft of sunshine lit the dense forest. In the middle of the small meadow a doe casually pulled at random patches of new grass. He shifted his weight and she raised her head, sniffed the air, and began shuffling nervously.

A fawn stumbled into sight and the doe grew anxious, glancing toward her baby and back to the brush. The fawn, oblivious to possible threat, wandered aimlessly around the glen, its curiosity and enthusiasm a pleasure to behold. It blundered about the clearing, bouncing at its mother and at imaginary wisps in the wind. The mother’s nose flared and she became well agitated.

Brandan slowly stood so that she could identify the source of her anxiety. The deer froze as his eyes met hers. Eyes hauntingly familiar. Their gazes locked and she assessed his threat. He was captivated by her wary innocence. The fawn crashed into her side, yet she did not break eye contact. Seconds later, the doe made her decision, gently nudging the young animal, moving it toward the trees edging the far side of the clearing. She turned before entering the forest, her dark gaze acknowledging his gift of life, before she disappeared into the darkness.

The doe recognized his benevolence and accepted it. She knew he meant her no harm. Now, if only he could get Ana to see the same thing.


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