The evening sun, the “golden hour,” was just beginning to slip behind the Stansbury Mountains, on its way to take a dip into the Great Salt Lake. This exceptional light made it so the green grass was remarkably vivid and bright. And, it was a brilliant contrast against the tall, dry, yellowed grass just over the fence. That was the pastoral scene in front of me and it surrounded the reddish-colored gate standing as a doorway to a stockade.
Once I passed through this portal, I saw anxious black, furry faces turn toward me and then to a manger in anticipation of dinner. I slipped through another gate, opened the barn door, gathered hay, walked back to the manger, and threw the hay in. At that moment, moist, black noses reached toward the food and were soon covered in flakes of green, as was my shirt.
I brushed the green flakes from my shirt and ambled through the gate back into the corral. My eyes were fixed on the gate as I walked, the fading sun to my right. That’s when movement in the tall, yellow grass across the fence caught my eyes.
“I wonder what that is?” I thought as I walked up to the fence.
My dinner was calling me, so I hesitated to linger. But it moved again. I stood still and focused. The light was waning. It was hard to see.
“It looks like two sticks moving above the grass.” I thought.
But its movement contrasted with that of the grass. I looked harder, more carefully. Then I saw a small, delicate head, a petite narrow snout and two antlers. It was a young, buck mule deer. Its unexpected beauty captured my presence. I gazed to absorb it — to see rather than to just look.
That evening, for the first time, the tall grass just over the fence came alive. Six more heads, sensing my concentration, rose almost in harmony above the grass. They wanted to see me as well. They were a brilliant contrast of life against the dead grassland.
“This truly is the golden hour!” I said to the small herd of deer in front of me.
I reluctantly left the pastoral scene and headed home for dinner, thinking of a famous quote by Oscar Wilde: “To look at a thing is quite different from seeing a thing, and one does not see anything until one sees its beauty. Then, and only then, does it come into existence.”
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.