Deer in the Headlights
October 2005

“Deer in the Headlights,” Ensign, Oct. 2005, 67–68

Deer in the Headlights

Many years ago I was returning home after dropping my husband off at school. The drive would take me through a canyon in the mountains of Utah.

I had our new baby, April, with me. This was long before infant car seats, so April lay wrapped in a blanket on a pillow in the front seat, her head resting on my leg.

To stay awake on this late trip I was singing the last hymn we had sung at church, “Abide with Me; ’Tis Eventide” (Hymns, no. 165). As I sang it started raining. When we reached the canyon the rain turned to snow and began sticking to the pavement.

Rounding a bend on the narrow two-lane road, I found a herd of deer directly in my path. I hit the brake, and the car slid. On my right was the mountain, and on my left the road dropped off to the river. There was nowhere to go but straight ahead. Holding the steering wheel with one hand and grabbing my baby with the other, I got ready for impact. But to my amazement, the deer just stepped aside, allowing us to pass.

After clearing the herd, I looked in the rearview mirror. The herd hadn’t frozen in the headlights or scattered—as deer normally would when frightened. They had merely backed up enough to let a little Volkswagen bug through. It felt to me like our parting of the Red Sea. I rejoiced for the 10 miles (16 km) home, thanking God for “abid[ing] with me.”

When I arrived home and got out of the car, I realized what a tragedy it could have been and wasn’t. Tears started to flow. Even if I had hit just one deer, it could have caused serious damage to the tiny car and injury to my baby and me. The near miss had occurred five miles (8 km) from the nearest farmhouse, and we hadn’t passed any vehicles on the road through the canyon or the rest of the way home. I cried with joy, holding my baby in my arms and thanking God for protecting us from harm.

  • Arlene Housman is a member of the White River Ward, Auburn Washington Stake.