I am writing this while sitting in the dark at my kitchen table. You may ask why, most normal people would, and I do have a good reason for having only the light from my computer screen illuminating my corner of the world.
From the table I have a view out the large window that faces east and is a favorite spot for the herd sire, two show cows with their calves to lounge through the night. It is a small end of their pasture just past the hedge of flowering sage, lavender, daphne and roses in their prime. Last night before going to bed I noticed the herd of elk coming out of the woods at the far end of the open field. From the picture you can see how close the pasture and fences are (during daylight hours of course). The elk I saw were right near that back corner and scattered through the far field.
This morning, in the dark, just beyond that fence row, and less than fifty yards away is an elk herd. At least I believe it is one of the elk herds, all information gathered so far leads me to that conclusion. Last night as I was powering down for the evening, I caught glimpses of an elk here and there as a few made it from the deep woods down into the large open field. As dusk was settling, I could make out several babies dashing back and forth between mother cows, trying to burn off some of the excess energy before settling down for the night. Before long it was too dark to see anything in the field.
A couple of times during the night, I peered out the window to see if the herd stayed in the field but a wispy cloud layer had formed and only a slip of moon so I did not have enough light to see if the herd stayed around. And that is why I sit in the dark at 4am with my fingers at the keyboard and my eyes glued to what could be bushes, clumps of Scotch Broom, blackberry briars, pucker brush or elk. Until I see one move, then another. The herd did stay in the field all night and as the sky brightens I can count at least forty critters and possibly more because I can’t pick out the babies yet in the dim morning pre-dawn.
By the time it was light enough to snap a pic of the herd, they had moved far afield and my zoom could not capture the magnificence. With a glorious start to the day, I’ll get the coffee pot started, savor the last fleeting sights as the herd once again makes its way into the deep forest before I head the other direction to make sure none of the critters are hanging around our precious seedlings on the other ridge.