Why Did the Elk Cross the Road?

Spring comes late in the mountains where I spent the weekend. I took my camera wherever I went, but nothing was blooming. However, the Ponderosa Pines satisfied my desire for natural beauty, as they always do.

As I was leaving town, the local herd of elk were gathered along Hull Road. Very polite. They paused from time to time to let the cars go by. Many more were grazing along both sides of the road as I carefully continued on my way. There must have been 60 or 70 of them altogether.

Back home in the Rio Grande Valley, the violas and lobelia were in full bloom. Thank God for spring!

Neighbors

The table and chairs are just out of sight on the right.

In the mountains, my husband and I have a small vacation townhome. The patio is just large enough for a table with an umbrella, four chairs, and a few flower pots. The ponderosa pine just beyond the gate is the main attraction, but even here, I must have a little garden. When I came back this time, to my delight I saw that my neighbors had kept my petunias and marigolds alive in my absence. Good neighbors are so precious.

On my first day back as I was sitting on the patio, a bee appeared out of nowhere and buzzed around my head several times. It was clearly angry, and it was clearly trying to chase me away, but I held my ground. At home in the garden I move among the bees as they pollinate the flowers, and they never seem to mind my presence. However, this mountain bee was seriously upset, even though I was minding my own business. The next day on the patio, it returned and buzzed around my head again, but not as many times, and not for so long.

I haven’t seen it since. It has apparently accepted me as a neighbor.

Last Day in the Mountains

Elk grazing near the road

Here in Ruidoso, New Mexico, a herd of 50 to 60 elk sleep on the Links Golf Course at night. Upon rising, they spread out into the forest to begin their day, often blocking Hull Road. I love seeing them, but I am not usually out driving so early. This morning I was lucky enough to see a few.

I’ve enjoyed my week in the mountains, although it took a few days to adjust to the mountain sounds. Periodically, a strange thud would hit the house. Armageddon? Bear attack? No, it was just the Ponderosa Pine dropping another pinecone on the roof. The dance of the pinecones is definitely a springtime event. I’m not sure how they came to be associated with winter. Perhaps because they make such good kindling in the stove.

The forest floor provides the landscaping for much of the town. However, for those who must garden, the ‘Red Hot Pokers’ are in bloom. The deer won’t eat them.