We shoed up a small peak in the Pike National Forest today, and near its summit came upon what had just recently been a well-populated deer or elk yard. We’d noticed hoof prints helter-skelter as we climbed through the thirty inches of two-day-old snow. But up here it was a wonder to see their body impressions as they lay under pine boughs through the storm, and to note the ways they had pawed through the wet blanket in numerous places to gnaw at grasses, yucca, and other vegetation.
We first wondered why we were not seeing animals anywhere. What might have caused them to leave the yard, considering the effort it must have taken to work through the snow’s depth? Why would they leave their clearing work behind? But as we circumnavigated the peak we came across different tracks that unfolded the drama. From the opposite side were presented the ten-foot bounding body prints of what appeared a bobcat. It must have come tearing up the hillside like a crazy banshee, scattering the occupants like an ebullient, spirited dog setting upon a flock of pigeons in a city park. What a sight that would have been to see, perhaps only hours before. But no damage seemed to have been done the herd, and the cat likely searched on.
One moment the herd was at rest, repose, or perhaps hunkered disconsolately in growing unease through the gale’s mounting cover. The next moment the scatterer arrives, making its presence known in a big way. All heck must have quickly broken loose, belying the peaceful scene now before us. Diffusion, dispersal, diaspora…
The bobcat, of course, was only doing what bobcats do. But it raised for me a Biblical image from one of Jesus’ briefer parables, a depiction of a spiritual reality that can happen when we least expect it: “…The thief (read: the enemy of our soul) comes to steal, kill and destroy… The wolf (same reading) attacks the sheep and scatters them (John 10:10-12)." Yet take heart. Jesus’ promise in the same passage is sure: “…But I have come to give life, and give it in abundance.”
~~RGM, From an Old Journal Entry,
Updated February 7, 2015
P.S. This was written some time back. By contrast, it’s 70 degrees in Denver today, and there’s not thirty inches of fresh snow within miles. Tough day in paradise… Guess I’m just doing a bit of Colorado Dreamin’ on a winter’s day.