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Friday, October 05, 2007

Foto Friday: An Elk

Lone Elk State Park Missouri, Oct. 1992Lone Elk State Park
Missouri, Oct. 1992

Not Anne Elk. Perhaps Arnie Elk.

This is from Lone Elk State Park, a little west of St. Louis. Despite the name, there are more elk than just Arnie.

It was mating season when we were there, and there were signs everywhere warning that the elk were in rut, and that the males in particular could be very dangerous. They were not skittish, however, and stood around grazing and gazing at the tourists with unconcern. When we came upon these we would stay at a safe distance and use our telephoto lenses.

I remember once we were stalking an elk grazing right beside the road (I don't remember if it was Arnie here). I wondered if the cautious stalking was going to make it more paranoid (and dangerous) than if we'd been more obvious. And Niles, I thought, was getting too near. I tried to calculate the distance between Niles and the elk, and Niles and me, and wondered what the hell I'd do if it charged him.

So after ten minutes of fretting and calculating and futilely trying to signal Niles to be more cautious we had just about worked ourselves into a position where we had a good photo. And then two guys in a pickup drove up. Hey! Looky here! They got out of the truck and stood around pointing and shouting. One of them put his arm across the elk's back while the other one took a picture.

This is where the narrative demands the elk become enraged, eviscerating the men and trampling their intestines, mirroring the bright foliage in the earth. But this elk didn't know from narrative. It just sighed and endured the indignity, and after a few more shouts the men rolled on.

Elk are stupid.

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