Finally.

I saw the elk I have missed for some time. One of the joys of this time of year is the anticipation of seeing elk while I’m heading to work.

Last year they were around, but it seemed as if their migration through the meadows and on the ranch road never seemed to coincide with my arrival. I missed seeing and hearing them in the early morning light.

Then, one day, when my mind was elsewhere, I rounded the small bend and there they were meandering and moving around getting ready to head up Rattlesnake Mountain. Lo and behold, the main bull with his harem was standing proudly. Naturally I stopped and took in this magnificent site. It was a relief and a moment I hadn’t realized I wanted and needed at that time.

I’ve had these “experiences” with elk over the years. Sometimes they would appear when I needed it most. I was either melancholy or worried or trying to figure out something. Then I’d see one of those magnificent creatures in my headlights and all would immediately calm and perspective was once again in reach. Sometimes I imagined their song at that particular moment was just for me. He would always look at me, standing proud and majestic.

In those moments one’s mind is free to imagine and create a connection between human and animal. It always happened to me for some weird reason. As he would continue on his path and I proceeded to the office, the song would echo through the canyon. I always thought he was speaking to me.

I realize how fortunate I am to live in an area with an abundance of creatures to touch our soul and remind us that we don’t have all the answers and we need these various species to nurture and ground us during our short stay on this finite planet. They remind us of the vast life cycle and that we are just a small part of the wonder of this planet that we, at times, take for granted.

The wild turkeys have reappeared at the office, another reminder of the change of season. It’s reassuring to see them take up residence again after their summer hiatus and relocation to greener pastures. Bears are eating everything they can find as they prepare for their long slumber.

We are surrounded with beauty, even with the smoke drifting in that reminds us of Mother Nature’s immense mystery and power. We have much to be grateful for and the array of flora and fauna we are privileged to enjoy adds immensely to our lives.

Seeing and hearing the great bull elk on this particular morning provided solace sorely needed in our chaotic and uncertain world. It was well worth the wait, and hopefully I’ll have the opportunity for an encore in the not so distant future.

“… Then, started with a mad affright, His great horns thrown across his back, His taper nose projecting far, With mighty leaps he clears the ground And vanishes like shooting star,” from The Elk, or Wapiti by Isaac, Jr. McLellan

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