Mother Nature Joins Us on Our Walk

The picture that inspired the poem that follows: seven female elk in a field with trees and a tan-colored house behind them.
Boxing Day Visitors

Almost home, we turn the corner
and skid to a sudden startled stop.
Elk. Seven cows staring at us
from the field beside our house.

Neighbors reported sightings,
we saw black-marble droppings,
but here in the coastal forest,
we thought we were in charge.

The dog frozen, it’s up to me.
Advance or retreat, act tough
or cajole them like puppies?
God, they keep staring at us.

Seven hundred pounds times seven–
Oh Lord, more leap out of the bushes.
I raise my phone to take pictures
to share if we get home alive.

One of them crosses the road
to where the women with cats live.
Run Millie, run Frosty! Hey Kathy!
A glance. The scout rejoins the herd.

It’s December. My bum knee aches.
“Come on, Pup.” Timid steps,
nervous chatter. They look alike,
small heads, thick brown bodies.

As we pass the mailboxes, the elk
turn as one and whoosh through
an opening in the trees and vines.
Could they have been afraid of us?


--Sue Fagalde Lick, Dec. 26, 2022



Happy New Year, everyone! Thank you for reading Unleashed in Oregon. These elk were quite docile, but if elk feel threatened, they might charge. I used the zoom function on my camera to photograph them. Always give wild animals the right-of-way. https://www.travel-experience-live.com/elk-safety-how-safely-observe-wild-elk/

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Author: Sue Fagalde Lick

writer/musician California native, Oregon resident Author of Freelancing for Newspapers, Shoes Full of Sand, Azorean Dreams, Stories Grandma Never Told, Childless by Marriage, and Up Beaver Creek. Most recently, I have published two poetry chapbooks, Gravel Road Ahead and The Widow at the Piano: Confessions of a Distracted Catholic. I have published hundreds of articles, plus essays, fiction and poetry. I'm also pretty good at singing and playing guitar and piano.

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