She jumped in front of my car. It was a good thing I was going very slow on the dirt road. Then she pranced in front of me as if not sure whether to go forward or back. Finally she darted forward and into the bush on the other side of the street. I got out of my car.

The deer paused on the edge of the bush looking back at me, as if to make sure I got her message, then disappeared amongst the trees too quick for my fumbling fingers on my camera. This was all I could catch of her, or rather the bush.

I was in a small tourist town called Ste Agathes-des-monts in Quebec house sitting an old boyfriend’s place while he was away. I had gone for a drive exploring the area and followed a sign down a long dirt road that said “Eco-camping.” I could have stayed here too. It looked very attractive with lots of wooded areas and wildlife but it was cheaper and more convenient staying at my friend’s place.

My hands rested on the steering wheel as I looked down contemplating for a moment.

Deer – innocence, open-heartedness. When I did shamanic journey work, she was one of the animals with me. Was she representing me? And was she saying, Was I going to go forward or was I going to hold back with doubt? A timely message.

I remember just before buying my camper, it had been six weeks since the plane landed in Toronto and I stepped out with three suitcases stuffed with almost everything I owned. I was sitting in my brother’s living room holding a warm cup of tea thinking about the community I had created in this short time: the yoga studio I now went to regularly, the friends I had made, and the women’s circle I had been attending. I really was comfortable. Did I actually want to leave all this and live in a camper?

There was a part of me that wanted to stay and enjoy this cozy set up. And there was another part of me that knew I must take this next big step. Was that hesitation still with me?

A couple of weeks later I had moved on from Gilles’s place and was camping in Nova Scotia. That morning I went for a walk and Blue Jay was following me. The distinctive blue feathers were barely visible through the trees as I walked. Blue Jays are part of the crow family and are very assertive and strong birds. Their message is often about ‘focused attention’ and ‘fearlessness’.

He remained mostly hidden but stayed with me for about a minute flying from tree to tree. I thought it was odd that a bird seemed to be following me. Finally I stopped and squinted through the branches trying to see him better. He flew away.

He could have been telling me that my focused attention wasn’t clear that day. He would have been right. Later in the morning, as I was negotiating my way out of the camp site, I forgot to fold back the hand railing. I didn’t pay attention and a tree, I hadn’t seen, neatly squashed the hand railing in on itself. I hadn’t listened to Blue Jay’s message.

Two messages: Move forward and pay attention.

The last couple of days have held some challenge. The two main visits with family I had arranged over the next two weeks fell through, due to personal circumstances. I was then left with nowhere to stay and nothing to do for the next several days. Now I’m a resourceful person and so I decided to stay a couple extra days in Ottawa to start with.

Driving downtown, I looked for a parking spot. “One hour,” the sign said. It would take me twenty minutes to walk to the book shop and I wanted to visit two shops. It wouldn’t be enough time. I drove on. I spotted a big green “P” sign indicating covered parking, but I couldn’t go in there with my vehicle. I was too high. Looking up ahead I saw a parking spot. As I got closer it was definitely a parking spot, one that would have fit my last car, not my truck camper which needs a very generous parking spot or two small ones. I drove on.

I drove on and kept going to the camp ground where I was going to book in. It was the Gatineau Park, on the Quebec side of Ottawa and I’d heard it was beautiful. I was looking forward to getting out of the city and slowing down a bit. The book shops will have to wait.

“On no, madam. The camping area isn’t here. You will have to drive another thirty kilometres.” The man behind the counter at the Gatineau Park office showed me the map indicating that the camping was deeper into the park and there was no bus service. That meant I wasn’t going to be bussing it into Ottawa now. I was going to chill out.

I nodded. What else could I do?

As I was paying for the campsite at the campground office I had an inkling about something and asked, “Is there any cell phone coverage here?”

The woman behind the counter shook her head. “You’ll be lucky if you get any.”

Okay I’m going to chill out even more, I thought, but I felt frustrated. There were so many things I wanted to do and take care of which all involved being in the city and using the internet.

Then I remembered an earlier message, “If it don’t flow, don’t go.”

All there was to do was to explore paths like this. Hard job I know.

Yes, “Moving forward” is important and, yes, “Paying attention” is always important, and sometimes moving forward is to stand still. So I’m standing still…for a few days.