Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Honor Guard

Early Morning Honor Guard
Wapiti Cow Herd
Breakfast Grazing
Some Still Bedded Down
Does the Cat Know the Elk?
The Pond The Honor Guard Watches
Wapiti stand tall as the regal Honor Guard of Elmira Pond. With furry red heads and shaggy shoulders, their golden coats are sleek and ceremoniously plumed at the rump.

Like the mists that roll off Elmira Pond, wapiti can suddenly materialize in a pasture and quickly evaporate as if not of solid form. Hunters speak of stalking great bulls in plain sight only to see them disappear without explanation. In the Pacific Northwest, Native Americans believe that elk are the protectors of women.

The early morning that I left for LA last week, the entire local herd was standing alongside the road as we pulled out of our driveway. I felt as though the Honor Guard of Elmira was seeing me off on my journey. LA might have its red carpets, but Idaho has its wapiti.

When I returned, it was the barn cat who greeted me with such enthusiasm, that as she trotted my direction, each bounce puffed her meows as if she were grunting like an elk. I wonder if she knows the Honor Guard? If she curves her slinky black and white body around their legs as they graze and drop turds the size of chocolate-coated almonds in copious piles?

Ever alert and on the move, wapiti graze like mist -- a chomp here, two quick steps, another chomp, three steps, chomp and they are gone. There's no mistaking an elk for a deer, as they are nearly as big as a moose.

This morning, as the spring sun rises earlier and earlier, I was up to peek out my windows to see what I could see. And across the pasture from my garden was a few wapiti. They were not strolling so I actually got to watch them. With the binoculars, I realized that the majority of the herd was bedded down. I could see reddish heads above winter's last clumps of grass.

Grenny stood with me, not needing binoculars to see the herd. He was still as Blue Heron fixated on a frog. As the sun rose, so did the cows and they began their quick-paced feeding and were gone in minutes. My photos do not do them justice. They are regal and gilded in the sunlight. A worthy Honor Guard of the pond.

Linking up with Abracabadra for Wordless Wednesdays. Photos, even the grainy ones by dawn's early light, by Charli Mills.


  1. Wow! A Guard of honor for some one really deserving, Charli.
    I guess the universal energy makes even the animals sniff of what is to come and their standing in the line was a sign that your LA trip will be good :)

    Beautiful pix, and second to what Susan mentioned. Would love to come visit that raw nature.

    1. It felt like a blessing to see that they had lined up along the road and again to see them behind my garden (as if to say, 'Get gardening now!"). You are welcome here anytime, Ruchira!

  2. How lovely that the honour guard were there for your farewell, and waiting there patiently, if unseen until the morning, for your return. They knew they were in the presence of someone very special with something important happening.
    They sound amazing. We have no animals like that here. I had to look up Wikipedia to find out what they were before I'd even read the first paragraph. I love learning new things. Thank you.
    What an amazing world we share. I'm so pleased I can pop over to Elmira Pond from time to time to share your view.

    1. Wapati almost reminds me of wombat, if in odd-name only! Elk are very large and majestic. In the fall (mating season) the males bugle. It's fun to share Elmira Pond with you, Norah!

  3. How wonderful to see such sights from your bedroom window! And to have your honour guard there, ready and waiting, and sweet Bootsy too. I love coming over to Elmira Pond, I never know who I'm going to meet :-)

    1. I feel that way when I get up in the mornings...I'm always gawking out a window!