Saturday, November 27, 2010

with gratitude

darlings of God?

three weeks have fallen over these mountains:
the golden woods have beiged to brown,
the stark geometry of the trees returns,
light and eye are not diffused
by swatches of color and texture dabbed upon each other,

the Sun tires of this day
so we hurry along to the valley
where the elk might be,
they aren’t where I expect them,
and where I saw them three weeks ago,
I’m disappointed for I wanted to share such a moment with my wife,

we decide to look nearby for them,
a side road with fields of grass along it,
and there they are!

our car the only car for near the 30 minutes we’re there,
only two other humans, a young Cherokee couple,

share these long moments with us,
window down, I snap picture after picture,
mostly of the great bull elk,

each antler near 3 feet long,
each antler with 5 branching forks,
two younger males and five cows share the field and graze the grass,

a second bull elk is near as big as the alpha male,
and probably has less sense,
his antlers long but unbranched,
he keeps messing with the greater:
they clack antlers together,

push, and get pushed back,
disengage, and re-engage,
we can’t tell how much it is play
and how much it is dominance work,
how much it is boredom,
how much it is scratching an itch that needs scratching,
for the younger elk had earlier engaged his antlers
with lower branches of a cedar tree,

and later he licks a mailbox, and then our car,
his saliva clearly there on the driver side window
after he moves to the front bumper,

I am big and I find him huge compared to me,
he towers over our car,
and I gaze into his big brown eye
and feel the power of his body and spirit questing,

tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a time of gratitude,
and these elk remind me that every form life ventures
might be a darling of God’s.

by Henry Walker
November 24, ’10

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