Evening Rapture

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Sooty grouse (Dendragapus fuliginosus)
Granite Mountain Trail,
Alpine Lakes Wilderness,
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
(ancestral lands of the Snoqualmie),
October 01, 2021.

One must wonder whether wildlings appreciate the grandeur of their surroundings, apart from their innate connection to their world. This grouse and another hen were foraging amongst the autumn foliage shortly before sunset ignited the mountainside’s already smoldering hues, as seen in the photo below a short while later. Did she pause for a moment of wonder at day’s last flourish, as did I? Life in the wild isn’t easy.  For the creatures who inhabit them, scenes like these are sandwiched between the much more frequent paroxysms of the elements, the predators lurking where least expected, the seasons of scarcity, and the burdens of parenthood. (Grouse can lay up to fifteen eggs at a time!) Do the rigors of life render these fleeting moments the sweeter, even for a grouse, or wholly irrelevant? Whichever it may be, that there are creatures in a world where the sublime is as sure a fact as the toilsome is somehow comforting.

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Fleeting splendour sets the alpine autumn slopes ablaze.
Granite Mountain Trail, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
(ancestral lands of the Snoqualmie),
October 01, 2021.

© 2021 Anthony Colburn

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