What a beautiful time to be alive in Montana…wintertime. The snowflakes fall in slow motion, school gets out for a break, and the mountains look like they’ve just been dusted with powdered sugar. After many snowfalls, a blanket forms on the ground and tucks the grass and its inhabitants in to sleep for a long four months. The birds fall quiet and silence is the earth’s new lullaby. Clouds are here more often, which makes a bluebird, sunny day a gift from above. Yet even if the sun shines, it is still frigid from the lowest of valleys to the highest of peaks.
One animal that doesn’t seem to ever mind the cold is the deer. I see them all the time, whether it be in my yard, in a field, or much too close to my car as I drive to school. I think they’re the cutest in the winter. Their fur becomes fuzzier, bodies a little plumper, and their faces are adorned with curiosity and bewilderment. Sometimes when I see a deer, I think to myself, How in the world aren’t they dying of the cold!? I mean, look at them. No coat, gloves, or a hat. Sure, their coat is thick, but not as thick as my North Face! Then I remember Who created them, and my wonder dissipates. However, what doesn’t dissipate is my amazement.
The fact that these small creatures, like many animals, brave the winter blizzards, chilled winds, and sub-zero temperatures without complaint. They have their families, at least for a little while, that they stick with. They don’t have heated seats to sit in or a cozy fireplace to cuddle up by. Despite this, they live everyday in perfect harmony with their surroundings.
According to Ruth Smith, “A deer’s ‘winter coat’ is made of hollow hairs that trap air. This provides an insulated outer layer that can keep them warm even when it gets to -30 degrees (F).” In addition, deer change their eating habits before the temperatures drop. “In the fall, white-tailed deer shift their diet from green plants to nuts and woody plants. To build up their body fat, they must consume five to nine pounds of food each day. Deer will draw on this fat reserve through the winter to supplement their food consumption. They may lose up to 20 percent of their body weight by spring” (Smith).
What if humans could learn from the deer? What if we looked at our circumstances, no matter how cold or unfortunate, and chose to live as if the opposite were happening? Or chose to look at every single day as a blessing? What if we decided to be simply amazed by that fact that we’re even alive? It doesn’t matter to the deer if they are stuck in a blizzard. It shouldn’t matter to us humans if we’re caught in a blizzard of life either. It doesn’t matter to the deer that everything is getting colder because instead of complaining, they just get warmer. Of course, humans do not grow more body hair or change their diet as seasons of life get difficult. But we can change our mindset.
We can choose to look at every moment of our lives, no matter how cold the air is or how gray the skies are, as an opportunity to adapt. We can learn from the deer and continue to foster the lives of our loved ones, even in the midst of a storm. We can choose to live with uncircumstantial faith in God; that He created us which means that He will protect us and sustain us no matter what.
Like a deer, we can be dauntless in whatever weather we face. All we have to do is surround ourselves with the right people, find something to keep us a little warmer, and have unwavering trust that this season of our lives is still good. Just like a deer, you have the power to press on through every single season…even a Montana winter.
Smith, Ruth. “Take me outside: How deer keep warm in the cold months.” The Berkshire Eagle. The Berkshire Eagle, 12 Dec. 2013. Web. 12 Jan. 2017. <www.berkshireeagle.com.>