Elk are abundant, as are deer – moreso than I recall in my 34 years in Colorado. Last weekend, driving back from work at about 10:30 at night, I came across a car that had just hit a large elk. The occupants were two grandparents (about my age!), their four-year old grandson and their small dog. The grandfather had climbed down the embankment to find the dying elk (not a wise move) and the grandmother, little boy and dog were standing in the dark by the side of the road. Pieces of their car were scattered across the highway and the entire front passenger side was crushed. Others had stopped, but had moved on when they realized there were no injuries. That felt wrong to me, so I stayed with the trio on the side of the road, kicked the debris out of the road using moonlight as a guide so no one else would have an accident, distracted the lady with talk of random things, made the little boy laugh, held the dog while she helped her grandson put on some warm clothes, and tucked them all in my truck until the police came to help. They were from the city, and were scared and shocked. And very, very lucky. As I left them, she said, “You’ll never know what a lifesaver you were tonight.” And I wished them blessings.

The moral of this story is, if you are driving in the mountains, especially at night, keep a weather eye out. Elk are quick and slow at the same time. Go slower than you think you should, keep your lights on bright when you can, and look for their eyes – that gleam is usually what your headlights will catch. Let’s keep you – and these beautiful creatures – safe and sound.

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Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “The concept of conservation is a far truer sign of civilization than that spoilation of a continent which we once confused with progress.” —  Peter Matthiessen

Daily gratitudes:
The 3-year old Bronco fan with his mohawk on the shuttle
The man in the straw boater hat
Lunch with MKL
My wedding boots
Love