I have. In fact, I've seen her twice. Both times, as her normally-pigmented companion skittered off into the woods, she has stopped and turned to watch me, as if giving me the chance to confirm that I was really seeing her.
No, that's not my picture. That beautiful creature lives at the old Seneca Army Depot in New York State, where she and others like her are the focus of a preservation and ecotourism initiative.
My picture is more a typical result for someone who was driving down Old Battleground Road at an obscenely late hour, fumbling for a camera and snapping a quiet shot without making any sudden movements.
This is it.
I know, I know. That could be an azalea bush for all you can tell. I put a highlight box around her, and her green-glowing eyes give her away, but you're just going to have to take my word on this: twice, I've been within 30-40 feet of a white deer, with whom I shared several long moments of inquisitive awe. The second time I didn't even have a camera with me, and she was yet closer and stayed still longer.
I believe in signs. I believe the universe rewards those who pay close attention. I believe the white deer in Battleground Park who crossed my path twice in a month has something to say. I don't yet know what it is.
I'm very familiar with the Native American lore surrounding the white buffalo calf, and remember the celebrations twelve years ago when one was born on a farm in Wisconsin. "Miracle" was said to be the first white buffalo calf born since 1933.
The birth of a white buffalo calf is seen by the Native Americans as the most significant of prophetic signs, equivalent to the weeping statues, bleeding icons, and crosses of light that are becoming prevalent within the Christian churches. Just as the Christian faithful who attend these signs see them as a renewal of God's ongoing relationship with humanity, so do the Native Americans see the white buffalo calf as a sign to begin to mend life's sacred hoop.
There is a Chickasaw legend about white deer. It's no less enchanting than the white buffalo calf lore, but decidedly less... important.
This legend has some bizarre anglocentric tie-in to Virginia Dare.
This one, attributed to the Seneca, is hardly uplifting, but I like the thought that these animals are representatives from the spirit world.
This story, credited to the Lenape people, is my favorite. It involves a transcendent stare-down between awestruck humans and a seemingly fearless white deer.
That's very much how it happened on Old Battleground Road in March.
I hope you liked the story, Joel.
Last year, a white buffalo calf named Medicine Wheel was born to a rancher of Lakota ancestry on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.
It was the 9th white buffalo calf born since Miracle in 1994.
"These are omens, and they are happening in the most unexpected place among the poorest people in the country. They are good omens, if we pay attention to them. For us, this would be something like coming to see Jesus lying in the manger."
-- Floyd Hand Looks For Buffalo, Oglala medicine man
Joseph Chasing Horse, traditional leader of the Lakota nation, explains that 2,000 years ago a young woman who first appeared in the shape of a white buffalo gave the Lakota's ancestors a sacred pipe and sacred ceremonies and made them guardians of the Black Hills. Before leaving, she also prophesied that one day she would return to purify the world, bringing back spiritual balance and harmony; the birth of a white buffalo calf would be a sign that her return was at hand.
"Mention that we are praying, many of the medicine people, the spiritual leaders, the elders, are praying for the world," says Joseph Chasing Horse. "We are praying that mankind does wake up and think about the future, for we haven't just inherited this earth from our ancestors, but we are borrowing it from our unborn children."
Source: "The White Buffalo"