Wapiti and Water Lilies

Photograph Roxy Whalley

From my journal in the spring of 1999 (Originally published in 1999, republished November 2019)

This spring the elk and deer seemed particularly springy.

I watched elk frolic in the fields by McGregor Ranch in Estes Park, CO, prancing around after each other in total abandon, and they looked to be playing the game of tag.

Unusual behavior for elk.

Behind the Notch Top Café in town, there is a small pond. In spring and early summer water lilies grace its surface.

One day I happened to be driving through a herd of elk along the road by this pond, and while waiting for them to move out of the road I glanced at the pond, and was delighted to see two elk, a yearling and a full grown female, each leap from the bank onto one of the water lilies’ huge green leaves. After pouncing on the leaf, for there is no doubt it was intentional, they returned to the edge of the pond and repeated the motion. The lily sank, then popped up again, and the elk turned their heads quickly, saw it pop up, and then pounced on it again.

This happened repeatedly; pounce, wait, watch, head turn, pounce.

I could not help laughing at their play, for there is not a doubt in my mind, that they were playing.

~ ~ ~

Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature


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