Harmony

My friend Lynne is known for delivering rebukes and commands which usually inspire quick obedience from the rest of us. Not so, however, with the elk who frequently appear in her garden to munch on green shoots and leaves, sometimes even her flowers. The elk simply glance in her direction with a benign blink and continue to chew.

Well, you can’t stop the river, as the song says, and you can’t easily stop the flow of these elk when they are on their regular route through Lynne’s property.

Roosevelt Elk are common around here and they’re important. They’re part of our heritage, appear on our provincial Coat of Arms, and have been described as a “fitting representative for Vancouver Island (See Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation: Return of the Roosevelts.)

Impressively large creatures, some weigh as much as 900 lbs and their racks are massive. I picked up an  antler that Lynne had found near her home and I’m pretty sure it weighed about 15 pounds! And that’s only one antler. I can’t imagine what it would be like to carry a 30 pound rack on my head day and night for a good part of the year. Of course, they shed them annually, but then they just grow them all over again.

I don’t think Lynne minds their visits at all. In fact, I suspect she actually loves these hefty individuals. She didn’t say say those exact words, but has admitted that she likes “the unexpected surprise of having have them suddenly appear and meander so randomly and comfortably through my life.”

In indigenous folklore, elk are often associated with love, although more commonly the symbolism has to do with characteristics such as strength, confidence, elegance, passion and individualism. During rutting season, bull elk will fight aggressively with each other to win a cow of their choice, but mostly they appear to be quite peaceful and mild-mannered. They’re gentle herbivores who usually mind their own business and aren’t aggressive to other animals. Despite their size and strength and individualism, they don’t wave flags or honk horns. They can create a bit of noise with their bugling and chuckling but I don’t think they are keeping people awake at night very often. And they don’t appear to aiming to being down the government.

I’ve read that elk can be aggressive at times, of course, especially when protecting their young, but mostly they don’t seem intent on harming others. Many people, like my friend Lynn, are pleased to have these big guys living close by. People living in Youbou consider the elk who live there to be important members of their community:  

https://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/elk-named-bob-makes-big-positive-impact-in-small-vancouver-island-town-1.5788204

It makes sense that someone would launch a fundraiser to have a life-sized carving of one well-loved elk named Bob placed in a local park. Bob is said to have “brought the community together” — and that may be one of the most important things anyone can do these days, especially after the many divisive effects of Covid.

We should be inspired by what Bob has achieved in his community. Maybe as we await to see what havoc takes place in Ottawa on Canada, we can celebrate our heritage by each of us doing whatever we can do to create harmony in our own communities, wherever they may be.

And maybe also by making a small donation towards the creation and installation of Bob’s statue.

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