This wild life

Life is wild living among wild life. Watching sheep in May means sometimes watching life get started. When I reached the end of my day yesterday, I saw someone else’s get started: a lamb, so fresh to the world, its umbilical cord was still attached. Its fur, wet. I watched it paw at the gray dirt, its legs shake, it was figuring this life-thing out. The legs wobbled.

When a lamb learns to walk, its soft body tumbles, gets back up, tumbles. I watched as this lamb, with its uncertain body, adjusted to the feel of light and air and the cool cool wind. It followed its instincts, reaching under, crawling around, grasping on to mom’s side with a hungry mouth. It was searching for food it hadn’t yet had to find. When it was successful, it latched on, nursing. With its head out of sight, I could no longer see the desperate, searching eyes, all I could see was a baby lamb butt. I could feel its excitement, even through binoculars, I could sense it quiver with comfort, relief, the first-time sense of satiation. Peeping out from under mom, its tail was wagging.

There is nothing like watching certain things happen for the first time.

There is nothing like watching certain things happen for the hundredth time.

Yesterday I woke up to a rainbow, stretched across the horizon. The whole gamut of colors, me driving underneath. I’ve seen rainbows before and I’ll likely see rainbows again. But maybe never like this:

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A wake-up rainbow makes for a colorful start to the day.

I spent the rest of the day running into, through and out of a snow storm. Getting hailed on. Getting lost. Getting found. Getting sun-burnt. Chasing sheep.

 

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Today I woke up to see elk running across the fields at sunrise. Then we switched places and it was the wild rams watching me running across fields before sunrise.

Cow elk making a dash across the field.

Cow elk making a dash across the field.

I’m re-learning how to live when I live with wild-life for neighbors. The more time I spend in the wilderness, the more I come to realize the similarities humans share with the other creatures of our planet. I came here to research sheep and most of the time I think they find me first — when I do spot them, they are already sitting there, vigilantly watching me — my actions too are being researched.  It seems to me research is happening in both directions.

 

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