One has to 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. Did she pause for a moment of wonder at day’s last flourish, as I did? Life in the wild isn’t easy — for the creatures who inhabit them, scenes like these are sandwiched between the much more frequent spasms of the elements, the dangers lurking where least expected, the months 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 natural a fact of life as the toilsome is somehow comforting.
© 2021 Anthony Colburn