One of the beauties of Ananda Village is its super-abundance of deer.

A baby deer with white spots, trying to making a decision

The baby deer are the cutest. They have spots in summer; by mid-fall, the spots have gone, and the boys are developing antlers.

Deer are kind, innocent, and uplifting to see. For many people who visit the Village and have some kind of encounter with them, they are a highlight.

Deer are a year-round phenomenon – now, in late fall, you can still see them more days than not. In warmer seasons, they are even more common: last summer, counts went as high as 58. Popular hangouts include “downtown” Ananda Village as well as the apple orchard.

Click on any of the photos to see a larger version.

Deer grazing above office buildings

These deer are at Rajarsi Park, the group of office buildings which are the home to Crystal Clarity Publishers, Ananda’s outreach ministry, and several Ananda-member-owned businesses. (I work in the building on the left and help develop websites like this one.)

A deer on the blue background of summer sky

This photo is called “Deer in the Infinite.”

Deer in Ananda Village's apple orchard

These two young ones are at the apple orchard that I mentioned. The recently-improved orchard provides an easy source of food. (I can imagine the adults saying to the children, “Back in our day, we didn’t have these newfangled orchards. We had to eat grass all summer! etc.”)

Young deer in the orchard

Another day, while driving past the market and the orchard, I saw 36 deer within the space of about 30 seconds. You can check my calculations, but if they are correct, I was driving at nearly 4500 deer per hour (dph).

Majestic deer with antlers in the forest

This buck is at Ananda’s Meditation Retreat, 7 miles from Ananda Village. (The retreat is where I live – it’s also a place where people often come for quiet retreat and seclusion, and the home of Ananda’s university, the Ananda Institute of Alternative Living.)

Deer sticking out its tongue

Deer are not an unmitigated blessing; they carry ticks, eat plants out of gardens, and can even attract mountain lions, a natural predator. (Though I haven’t seen a mountain lion in my 3 years here, there are occasional sightings.)

A mother deer cleaning one of her children.

A panorama of deer on a hill

I came to work early one day and found this final group of deer nearby. I walked with them for over an hour, while they became more comfortable with me. When I left, I felt that we had developed a living relationship.

In no other place have I seen deer so accepting and unafraid of people, as if they sensed that, around people dedicated to inner peace and high ideals, they were safe.