Bull Elk at sunset, Banff, Canada
No, I am not away! Every so often I fancy an image scanned from the archives – in this case from a trip to Western Canada 24 (!) years ago. I was walking back to my campsite in the evening when a group of Elk started to cross the path ahead. I spotted the big bull, and raced to get the other side of him before he crossed the path. He seemed equally determined to cross the path before I got there. It was the height of the rut so it was probably unwise to be so close, but I made it and had seconds to compose and expose for one shot only (bearing in mind this was slide film and I didn’t see the result until two months later). I loved how his back blends into the ridges of the mountains behind. It was beautiful and eerie camping out in the moonlight hearing the bugling call of the Elk all around at night amongst the rustling trees.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
– John Muir
I actually had a profound healing experience from looking at this photo and tuning into the Elk, feeling his strength, agility, poise, and the gentle sensitivity combined with great power and determination. All great qualities to connect with. Here is some writing on Elk energy.
It brings to mind another image, from a time up near 12,000 feet in the mountains of Colorado. There had been storms, and I saw a rainbow with the arc coming down into a group of Elk grazing on the mountainside a distance away – the rainbow actually coming down into the antlers for some potent symbolism. Its only in my memory, as my camera was a small compact one and useless at that distance.
“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”
– Black Elk as told to John G. Neihardt, ‘Black Elk Speaks’