One of the beauties of Ananda Village is its super-abundance of deer.
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 â 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 âdowntownâ Ananda Village as well as the apple orchard.
Click on any of the photos to see a larger version.
These deer are at Rajarsi Park, the group of office buildings which are the home to Crystal Clarity Publishers, Anandaâs outreach ministry, and several Ananda-member-owned businesses. (I work in the building on the left and help develop websites like this one.)
This photo is called âDeer in the Infinite.â
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, âBack in our day, we didnât have these newfangled orchards. We had to eat grass all summer! etc.â)
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).
This buck is at Anandaâs Meditation Retreat, 7 miles from Ananda Village. (The retreat is where I live â itâs also a place where people often come for quiet retreat and seclusion, and the home of Anandaâs university, the Ananda Institute of Alternative Living.)
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 havenât seen a mountain lion in my 3 years here, there are occasional sightings.)
A mother deer cleaning one of her children.
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.