Monday, March 23, 2009

Not this time, I guess

A month or so ago, when I last drove through Point Marion, PA (just a few miles up the road from us here in Morgantown), I was surprised to see an all-white deer scamper across the road and up the hillside with a normal, brown-colored deer beside it. Presumably, it may have been an albino, but as the relevant threads at the "Buck Manager" website indicate, it may have only been a "piebald deer," if it had some brown spots I didn't notice. I didn't have a camera, and while I thought I saw someone else pull off the road to snap some pictures, I don't seem to have been able to Google them.

In Marie de France's Guigemar, the poem that leads off her twelfth-century collection of Lais, the eponymic main character encounters a white deer and shoots it. His arrow bounces off the deer's hoof (believe it or not) and strikes him, causing an injury. Guigemar then goes on a great journey, has a variety of adventures, etc, etc. The white deer, though, plays the role often played by a dwarf or giant in medieval romances: the magical or mystical creature that serves as kind of gatekeeper or prompter who motivates the hero's rite de passage, sending him off on the adventure or at least ensuring that he has one.

So, anyway, for the last month or so, I've been looking over my shoulder, somewhat hopefully and anxiously holding my breath and waiting for some transition that will change my life, or at least for the start of some new adventure. But a month seems to have passed, and now I guess I've had to conclude that it's not going to happen. Maybe next time I drive through there, though, I'll get another crack at the white deer. But in the romances, you only get one shot at something like that.

3 comments:

Jim said...

As a Pennsylvanian, I'm legally bound to suggest that your error was in not shooting (or attempting to shoot) the miraculous creature.

Jane said...

You must want to have a new adventure.

Perhaps your noticing the deer and writing about it is like the piercing of an arrow.

Historiann said...

Cool story. But shouldn't that be "rite de passage?" (Otherwise it looks like "laugh.") Or is that some old Norman French spelling you're using?