Up until yesterday, I had heard only the odd trumpet-like sound of a matriarch guiding her herd across highway 34. That was in the dead of winter when the Elk pretty much have the run of the town and travel through here in large groups daily.
Yesterday, while working at my desk, enjoying the lovely, fresh air of early autumn, I heard cries the like of which I’d never heard before. At first I thought it was a baby crying. Then I thought it might have been fox since they can also sound like a baby crying. Then I thought maybe a smaller animal had gotten hurt or was in some kind of scrap with another –
After the first couple of ‘honks’ I found I was no longer working. Rather I was listening intently to what seemed a series of shriek-shout-screeches – maybe the combination of a poorly blown saxophone-bugle-trumpet. Each one was a little odd and unique and kind of other-worldly and strangely beautiful. Each was a sound I’d never heard before. I was thrilled. I was suddenly twelve years old, wide eyed, curious and fascinated.
Not five minutes after I’d oohed and ahhed over a small symphony of these shouts, I saw the harem from the office window. The beautiful, healthy looking Elk cows had browsed their way up Fall River and were grazing the lush greens on the property. There were a dozen or more females accompanied by a couple of incredibly adorable new babes followed by one gorgeous big daddy – sleek and tall and strong with massive antlers. How do they keep their heads up with all that weight on top? And how do they scratch an itch at on top of the head in between?
As the cows crossed the road, seeming to signal to each other in that screechy, baby-cry way, I heard something else – loud and clear and strong –like a clarinet blown with a dry reed only stronger and much louder. I went outside to see and hear the magic. When bugling, the bull’s lips seem to make a big round ‘o’. They poke out, like he’s going to give someone a giant kiss, and out comes this amazing sound that I imagined meant – ‘Come on girls! No slacking! There’s fun to be had! We’ve got places to go and grasses to browse and the day and the eating are indeed fine!”
So, if you’ve heard there are some unusual troubles in the area, keep in mind that mother nature is right on track and as a town, we are getting there — making great strides daily. The weather is gorgeous – clear blue sky, warm sun, cool breeze, crisp nights — the colors just beginning to change from late summer deep green to golden early fall. The elk are bugling, the eating is fine, and it’s just a little too quiet around here without you.