One of my favorite paths to walk on is the one at River Park off Concord Road in Brentwood. There are over 10 miles worth of trails that connect up with other paths in Concord Park (which River Park is a part of) and Crockett Park.
THE WHITE DEER
When we first moved here random strangers on the path would stop me and ask, “Have you seen the white deer yet?”
They’d be so excited about it I couldn’t help but think it was a big deal. However, I came to think of the white deer as the ghost deer because I never saw it. I’d see part of the herd of deer that live and roam in the park from time to time, but I never saw the white deer.
Not for the longest time at least. Every chance I got to take a walk in the park I would, and one day I finally saw the white deer.
It was pure white from head to toe. An albino deer. A beautiful creature. The stuff of legends and myths. I could see why people were so excited about it. It was a miracle. I wanted everyone I knew to see it too.
After my first sighting I spotted the white deer more frequently. He was just a fawn then. As the months passed, he started sprouting antlers. Eventually he grew into a full-fledged deer.
The other day me and Murph were taking a walk in the park and I realized it’s been a couple of years now since we’ve seen him. I couldn’t help but wonder whatever happened to him. Is he still around? Or is he but a memory to those of us who witnessed the rare animal.
THE GHOST OF THE WHITE DEER LEGEND
I happened to Google “white deer” as I started writing this today. I wanted to see if perhaps I’d come across some info about the white deer of River Park.
Instead I came across some Native American Indian lore called “Ghost of the White Deer.” It was how the Chicksaw believed albino animals to be magical and wove a star-crossed lover tale around the creature.
A warrior named Blue Jay fell in love with the chief’s daughter, Bright Moon, but the chief didn’t like him. So he gave him a challenge: find a white deer and bring back its hide.
Blue Jay found a white deer and shot an arrow in its heart but it didn’t fall. He never returned to the tribe, and Bright Moon never married. But she knew Blue Jay had shot the deer. “When the moon was shinning as brightly as her name, Bright Moon would often see the white deer in the smoke of the campfire, running, with an arrow in his heart.”
The Chicksaw still consider white deer sacred and brides of the tribe prefer white deerskin as their wedding dress material of choice.
I found it curious I automatically associated white deer with ghost deer, and then come to find out that’s how Native Americans viewed such animals too.
If you ever take a walk at River Park, be sure to keep an eye out for the magical white ghost deer that once upon the time called the park home –and perhaps still does.