In the Peaks of Grassi the elk have been gathered for weeks. They lay in the hydro cut in the cold with the wind coming through Whiteman Pass. When they are still over the night hoarfrost grows white crystals on their fur. And in the night, if the clouds part in the sky and the moon is light, the breath of the herd collects in a cloud low over the field where they lie and freezes in the air.
But now the weather has broken. The sun has come back from behind the clouds and the ground is warmer and the elk are moving, digging through the little bit of snow for roots and brown grasses. They will move down the valley and cross the river to the islands where the snow isn’t as deep. They will stay in the forest there, waiting for the light and the warmth of spring.
There is sunlight this morning, but my stomach hurts today. There are things that will never change, living in the shadow of the mountains.