Friday, February 12, 2010

Elk making a comeback

Welcome back Warm Springs wapiti.

An open letter to golf course elk: Though we extracted some of your brethren one cold-blooded spring, penning them into traps, we've spotted more of you on the same sunny ridge where your iconic ancestors stood proud for millennia. It's refreshing to see you back, basking in the brightness, quietly observing us bipeds.

When we corralled your statuesque cousins 40 moons ago, one cow leapt over the moonlit fence and landed with a soft powder flop, before bolting up the ridge like dark crimson lightning.

High plains drifters occasionally whisper about her legendary feat, and wonder if you honor her in a secret language we cannot yet penetrate.

Your tracks wisp in the brilliant sky, swirling like haiku in horse latitude mists. Tread lightly around the wooded upland avalanche menace. When you secrete into town under cover of dark to engage in esoteric animal games on the golf course, beware of cellar snares as you slip between beverage trucks and insomniac deliverymen. Group well at canines edge as you stretch; sharing the links to nature, with perfect bird flocks, courageous cougars, awakening bears and the occasional wandering Wood River wolverine.

Though your long-term future holds some uncertainly, I break into smile for now, spying you wildly alive on the high hill.

Jim Banholzer


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