And the angel said, "I have learned that every man lives, not through care of himself, but by love."
- Leo Tolstoy
Evening walks have been a weather-permitting tradition for my daughter Evie and me for the past few years–one that allows us to catch up on things and get in some exercise after a long day at school and the office.
At 11, she doesn’t have to work so hard to keep up with me anymore. In fact, soon it will be the other way around.
When we started these walks, Evie liked to point out animals and plants along the way. Each animal or bird or insect we saw was a fresh surprise and a delight, and I loved to watch her eyebrows go up when she spotted one. She learned the names of new creatures we saw and proudly exclaimed the names of the old familiars, like robins, squirrels, ladybugs, bunnies...
And deer. Deer are plentiful around our house. Seeing one isn’t exactly unusual. I hardly look twice. But these animals thrill Evie every time. Each sighting is like her first.
My girl is learning about a lot of new things, and she’s faster on her phone than I’ll ever be. But when her hand darted out last night to point out to me the foursome of shy females munching in a neighbor’s field, I felt thankful. Thankful that as my daughter grows and changes, one thing about her remains the same. Her simple wonder at the sight of one of God’s creatures reminds me that there really is no such thing as a “common” animal. Each is a unique gift from God, as unique as my Evie is to me.
Colleen Hughes is the editor-in-chief of Angels on Earth. She's been at Guideposts for 20 plus years, and lives in a Hudson River town with her two daughters and two cats.