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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jane Doe…

The rest of the world goes on; most unaware of what she endures. Full of life — a life she senses will soon be cut short by painful inevitabilities. Helpless, terrified and lonesome she struggles to break free from the mess she has found herself in. The only warmth she can find is in her tears and memories. Cold and alone she patiently awaits a miracle.

This situation the deer is in metaphorically depicts emotional struggles we all face. Is this why we connect? Is sympathy born from empathy?

I went out schlepping armed only with my snow boots and camera last weekend. Although this was not my intended destination, I was drawn to this location along the icy river. I wasn’t sure why, but I stopped. Once I saw her, I realized why I was there.

Feeling as helpless as she looked, there was little if anything I could do. It broke my heart to walk away from a life in need. Maybe I didn’t realize why I was there after all.

Was this a tender reminder to never forget how precious life is?

The temperature was expected to drop that day and into the night. With a sliver of hope, a conservation officer suggested perhaps the ice would be strong enough for her to make a break for it. Because of the location, putting the animal out of her misery was not an option. Risking human life also was not an option.

Providing she was patient and strong enough, the ice around her could build back up and she could free herself.

Was this the universe throwing out another gentle reminder to be strong and patient so we can ultimately free ourselves?

Does it mean maybe there is always a little hope even when we feel the most hopeless?

I posted the photograph above on the IDNR Facebook page explaining when and where it was taken and I asked for them to help. I emailed local conservation police too hoping if enough people knew of her struggle, somebody could perform the miracle she was waiting for.

Sunday a couple of conservation officers formulated a rescue plan saying they too didn’t want to see her suffer. One of the officers I spoke with said he was nearly kicked to death in a similar rescue effort. Despite his own concerns, he arrived at the location only to discover she was gone.

Whether she was able to walk or swim to safety or otherwise, there was no sign of her.

Was it a happy ending? I think so. I like to think she was strong and patient enough to achieve freedom.

Like her story, no one can write your ending except you. We could all learn a lot from Jane Doe.