Musings for the Young at Heart
Moose and Old Woman
Sketch drawn by, Theresa F. Koch.
Grey Squirrel looked once more upon the land with hopes he had stored enough provisions for old man winters chill. Silently
caribou moved closer to the oceans jagged cliffs. The grizzly groaned loudly as he ran out of steam ready now to snuggle up
till spring roaring once more deeply in the tundra’s new fallen snow.
Moose knew she must move in much closer
to the man village if she hoped to eat the willows last branches peeking through the ice and snow. Moving now towards the
village’s lights up ahead she shivered. Hmmm, just the thought stirred and uneasy feeling within her soul. As she remembered
her sons fall from one mans bullet of destruction just last season.
Someday they will know just how close they stood
to God and will stop eating another child’s flesh, she thought, perhaps soon as the veil is growing thinner to their
weakened eyes. Alaska oh beautiful wilderness still left much untouched by man. So strong in this world tries not to bend
to the human weakness.
As moose approached the man village she could smell the smoke coming from within their dens.
As it touched the top of the tinsel looking trees it danced amongst the frozen air making drawings for all to see.
life giving was leaving till the spring, with it you would see less of the other forest creatures around. Salmon would then
return with the sun as well as grizzly. Then willow would be plentiful for the moose again. Till that time she must venture
in with the hopes to go another season unnoticed by the human’s hunger.
Listening to the sound of the winds
soft voice she watched up ahead knowing soon the Northern Lights would dance in celebration of the Christ child’s birth.
Just as always the heavens would rejoice in its entire glorious splendor.
Crunching from the distance made her jump.
As she saw the wolf run quickly through the trees edge. Oh just another worry the wolves incredible hunger. Life cycle, after
life cycle, moved throughout this land. As death then birth kept time with the earth’s movements. If she could make
it through the man village to the other side of the valley a kind old woman would lay hay along her fence line for the wildlife
Old woman looked out at the dim October sky wondering if moose had made it through yet another long year.
She looked forward to seeing if she would return each year as her moose mother brought her here just four years prior as a
Together they had an odd pact almost with each other based on respect and love each looked forward
to seeing the other in an uncommon way. Curious relationship thought old woman’s dog Chandler as he watched the tears
well up in old woman’s eyes as moose came up over the distant horizon.
Breaking fresh ice and snow moose
sighed with gracious relief as she saw old woman’s little cabin in the distance. Picking up speed she began to run for
her fenced picketed yard safety she would have one more season there until the spring breakup.
Hay and a few willow
sprigs were set outside the old woman’s barn door by the fence line. Moose knew they had been placed there just for
her. She turned to look in old woman’s window eyes met eyes each one filled with love for the other to see last winters
friend return. At that Chandler howled to let the wild wolves know keep your distance as old woman was his dearest friend
and she kept sanctuary for moose as others.
Come quick cawed out raven to his friends moose returns to old woman’s
as he swooped into scan the grounds for morsels of bread she would scatter outside with hopes raven would stay out of her
trash cans till she could burn the rubbish later. More than often raven and his friends lived closer to the human’s
food places and trash piles for easy meals in the long winter. But old woman’s was always a good place to fly by for
a few morsels.
Winter seemed to be falling hard as wolf gathered his cubs into their den he hoped the snowshoe rabbit
would be enough to last till he could catch another for his families next meal. Snowshoes were fast and not always easy for
wolf at his age of eight to see. Field mice were already in their homes for winter. Spring brought babies to all Alaskan animals
and a strong pack could live well on a moose or caribou child. But here in winters icy cold only a few fox and snowshoe were
easy for the catching.
Lynx dressed in their best wintry white slid slowly into their warm dens as flakes of silver
danced pirouettes outside. Beauty and danger for mammals made the mountains sleep till spring. Ice lakes and rivers wide made
excellent roadways for the Athabaskan hunters. Smoke filled skies twinkled as the air froze at sixty below zero. Moose sighed
as she fell asleep under the old birch tree whose branches ached at the weight of snow and ice. It made a good windbreaker
for moose along with a shelter, her mind began to drift off to rest. Tomorrow would be the start of her stay till spring when
the wild roses again would open up and sing in the sun.
Old woman smiled as she settled in front of the crackling
fire to read. Chandler warm and friendly sleeping at her feet made her feel so happy and loved. Slowly her eyes grew heavier
and heavier here in her little cabin in Alaska old woman drifted slowly asleep.
And winter once again took its claim
on the frozen land………
Photograph taken by, Theresa F. Koch
North Pole Alaska...
A heavy hush fell across the wind
As the midnight sun glowed
Silently tip-toeing across the ancient tundra
Had an almost mystical feel about it
Set into time
in their inner clock they move
Almost as soldiers to their summer homes
No need to question this movement just quietly
To do as the ancient ones and move with the seasons
To think these plateaus have been crossed
eons by the ancestors of these regal sure footed ones
Following the paths through this place has gone on
creator set them here within this place
This beautiful land, this Alaska, this home of the Caribou
An American reindeer.
With the exception of the musk ox, the caribou
ranges farther north than any other hoofed
The antlers, which are borne by both sexes, are flattened
somewhat like those of a moose. Caribou feed on
various types of plants.
The woodland caribou is swift, grayish or brownish
animal. Its height, at the shoulder,
is about 3 1/2 feet.
Woodland caribou are on the endangered list.
The Barren ground caribou, are smaller and lighter
in color than the woodland caribou, it ranges farther to the north, beyond the limit of timber-in a region sometimes known
as Barren Grounds.
Quotes taken from, New Standard Encyclopedia.