My neighbor up Lambert’s Cove Road texted me the other afternoon: “I need your help!”

The neighbor was mowing her lawn and ran the mower down the path to the pond. She stopped at a canoe on the path by the water and saw an animal lying inside it.

“Holy cow, that’s a really big rabbit,” she thought.

Then she realized it was actually a baby fawn in the boat. It didn’t try to get up. Was it injured? Will it be okay? The call for neighborly help went out.

When I arrived, we walked down the path and sure enough there was a beautiful spotted fawn in the canoe, half in the water at the low end. A towel was procured. I picked the fawn up and cradled it in the towel. It let out a big yell, which sounded very healthy, then lay still in my arms for a few treasured, intimate moments. There were no signs of injury.

We looked for a dry spot up the path to lay her down and leave her for her mother to find. As soon as those beautiful little hooves touched the ground the fawn dashed into the woods ­— hale, hearty and healthy — to the relief of all.

We thought about what might have happened. When I picked the fawn out of the canoe, I noticed a path going around the bushy edge of the wooded pond. The canoe crossed the path. Mother and fawn likely walked the path and mother jumped over the canoe but little fawn jumped in and couldn’t get enough traction to jump out. Then it slid down into the water at the end of the canoe. An aluminum rib stopped her from sliding all the way in. The canoe was on a down slope slant and the bottom was smooth aluminum, slippery for little hooves.

When the fawn was first discovered it was not in the water at the end of the canoe. We surmised that the mother came back in the interim to encourage and implore her fawn to fly free and in its struggle had slipped and slid further down. If so there would be a lot of tracks by the canoe. We went down to check. Sure enough, the ground was covered with mother’s hoof prints.

We pulled the canoe up and out of the path and turned it upside down. No doubt we had saved this beautiful and tender being to be the next generation of garden nibbler. Such is living life in nature. We retreated from what we knew would be a heartfelt afternoon reunion for the fawn and mother doe.

David Stanwood lives in West Tisbury.