For among elk, we dwell. *

photo 4-2

This wasn’t the first time we had to brake suddenly. Not the noisy tyre screeching stop; rather a quiet sedate halt before a hushed ‘ahh’ filled the car. We all leaned forward. I glanced back and forth, desperately seeking out the cause for this joyful expression.

‘There, just there. Amongst the trees. Do you see them?’

Them? I had been looking for perhaps one deer, camouflaged amongst the dark brown tree trunks, the green of the forest sucking the clarity of shapes into itself.


Abruptly I sit back into my seat. A young elk calf had just skittered its way across the road directly in front of the car. By the tree line it turned around and looked back to the other side. Just then I saw ‘them’. Another calf, hidden deeper amongst the trees, then Mother Elk stepped forward towards the road.

photo 3-3This was my ‘Northern Exposure’ moment! For years I’ve watched the starting credits of this show, always amazed as the elk nonchalantly wandered through the town. Here I saw the giant beast close up. Totally still as it weighed up the situation; its two off spring trapped on opposite sides of the road. We didn’t move. No one said a word. Feelings of awe and majesty flowing over us.

Then with a few wide strides the elk passed in front of us – to the lone calf.

photo 2I’ve never seen such a sad forlorn expression as that on the remaining calf. Its bewilderment and fear complete. We waited for the scenario to play out –Β  it was obviously the language of stares. Which luckily went on for minutes so we could relax in the close proximity of these animals.

photo 2-5 (1)As suddenly as Mother Elk had crossed the road, so it did again – back to the shyer, more fearful calf. Rejoined they looked back at the original calf. One minute. Two minute. The game of dare. One, two careful steps and then it walked, sauntered across. The Brave. The Fearless. The Adventurous. A hushed cheer in the car and the animals scarpered into the forest, the cowardly one turning away from the others before bolting back to them in a hurry.

photo 3So many lovely bloggers have asked about my trip to Sweden and for some photos and so I am only too happy to oblige. I will return to the book reviews in my next post.Β However, I will be posting more photos about my Sweden trip during the next couple of months.

* Copyright A. Kathy Moss

62 thoughts on “For among elk, we dwell. *

  1. Elk are majestic. I’m originally from Colorado here in the US. As it being the home of the Rocky Mountains, the Elk are there being protected by the laws governing that state and the nation.

    I’m also a fan of Northern Exposure. I even have the DVDs of the first 2 seasons.

    1. What a glorious place to grow up! Elks are protected by the state in Sweden too but every September for two weeks a licence is granted for a certain number to be killed (to keep numbers in order or such). Yeah! Another Northern Exposure fan – I have some of the later DVD series – great to re-watch but the quality of the picture could be better! Thank you for commenting.

      1. They used to allow hunting of elk in Colorado, also for 2 weeks in the fall, but the number of stags go so small that they discontinued. If the population increases enough, they may switch back.

  2. A three-way standoff like in the final scene of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, only with elks instead of cowboys. Okay, that’s maybe a bit of a stretch, but it was a nice story all the same.

  3. Oh Annika, how wonderful to watch this family of Elks as they wandered across your path, right before your very eyes! And yes, do please post more about Sweden, count me in as one of your avid fans and followers! I never did see an Elk in the wild in California, or a Moose, so I experience the joy vicariously through your eyes… πŸ™‚ xxx

    1. Sherri, it was wonderfully touching and emotional occasion – I couldn’t believe it at first! I’m so happy to have you as an avid fan of Sweden and of course, I am only too happy to oblige – more photos from Sweden to follow soon! I wonder what wild animals you encountered in California? Warmest wishes to you on this Sunny Saturday. πŸ˜ƒ

      1. So looking forward to it! I always wanted to see a bear too but never did, but we did have a family of wild pigs outside our tent during a camping trip in the Redwood forest in California lol! I’ll tell you the story soon! Hope you’re enjoying a lovely long weekend…see you soon! πŸ™‚ ❀

    1. Eeekk…standing near a moose!!! That’s too close for comfort but awe-inspiring. It does put us little human beings into perspective, doesn’t it? I could imagine you writing a poem on the incident. Have you?

  4. So lovely to find someone else who likes Northern Exposure! And great pictures of an adventure with elk! Thanks for stopping by my blog – I haven’t been able to get around to other blogs as I normally would because of editing my third book, hence the character descriptions to build up some interest. Come back any time!

    1. Oh, I loved the series and later bought the DVD box set which I’ve watched a few times – the characters became like close friends (I know, sad!!) I love what you are doing on your blog by introducing the characters – what a wonderful idea, working on your book and keeping that immediate but sharing the characters with us all at the same time. I’ll be over soon again and so glad you got the time to read mine a bit. Best of luck on your edit!

    1. Oh, it is a truly a wonderful place and despite having been there so many times I never take it for granted – seeing something new and spectacular every day. Thank you for your lovely comment and warmest wishes to you.

  5. Anonymous

    This certainly gave me a feel for the wilds of Sweden Annika. It must feel as if you are intruding in the elks habitat rather than, as we often arrogantly believe, wild animals intruding on ours. It must have been amazing and a bit scary (as well as amusing and a little cute).

    All we get here is seeing, if we are very lucky, little muntjac deer bouncing across the road in the early hours (and very few, fortuntely, bouncing off the bonnets of passing cars).

    Great photos and it really made my day.


    1. Ha, ha!! I’m just imagining those muntjacs bouncing off the car bonnets in your neck of the woods! Must be a few dents around! It was a humbling and special moment but not too scary as we were in the car. Definitely cute, especially the calf one looking so lost and forlorn. Ahh…I could nearly have got out and tried to comfort it..!

  6. I love when the wild and humans meet. Elk frequently wandered across local streets in Colorado mountain towns. The photos are great as well as your descriptions. Once in Yorktown, Virginia, we came to a complete stop in broad daylight as hundreds of deer simply jumped across the streets and cars. A sight to behold too. In Sweden I fell in love with the red and yellow warning sign to beware of moose. This was an enjoyable visit, and I look forward to more of such in the future.

    1. Wow, Mary Ann, that must have been a sight to behold – hundreds of deer in front of your car! I had to laugh at the nonchalant way you happen to mention elk (or is that moose, see Curt’s comment) wandering into town (to do some shopping?!πŸ˜€). As for the elk signs in Sweden they were great, weren’t they? See the past tense? So many ‘disappeared’ during the holiday season they have replaced with something else, I think! I hope you get a chance to visit Sweden again.

  7. Great pictures and great animal. I use to watch Northern Exposur to and I also wondered about the animals roaming around town like they own the place and I guess they do. I mean they were there first thought I need to find a place like that!

    1. Yeah! Another Northern Exposure fan! I used to imagine the elk walking into the bar and ordering a drink! These Swedish elks look much happier at home in their natural habitat – I wouldn’t have wanted to get any closer especially with two young elk calves present. Wishing you a lovely weekend – I bet it’s warm and sunny!! (ie. Opposite to here!!)

  8. Nothing like a bit of nature to get your heart pounding, Annika. I had a female elk charge me once… screeched to a halt about five feet away. Certainly got me excited. Aren’t the calves awkwardly cute? Almost moose-like. –Curt

    1. I’m not surprised in the least Curt that a female elk charged! You lead such an adventurous life and reckon you have had a few run ins with wildlife. Just glad that she stopped – I’m imagining the dust kicked up as she screeched to a halt. I know in America you have moose but are elks the same but just another word? I can’t seem to find clarity on this.

  9. Reblogged this on Unmeasured Journeys and commented:
    Are you having a good Earth Day?

    I have to say that I feel like nature is trying to get my attention today. This morning before I left for my early appointment, I read my friend, Annika’s story. Afterward, I walked outside and saw a gorgeous full moon in the blue sky.

    About five miles down the road, a deer crossed the road right in front of me. Luckily I had time to get stopped. I was watching a second one cross, when a blur whizzed by., number three!

    I looked back to my left and deer number four stood on edge, waiting for my next move, I suppose. I sat still. She stayed put, and I went on my way.

    On my way home several hours later, I saw a wild turkey by the road. It couldn’t make up its mind what to do! Finally it just ran along the woods and went back in them.

    Then, an hour ago, I was in the backyard. There’s a pretty swift breeze and I saw a turkey vulture gliding on the wind. Suddenly, he swooped down, nearly touching the grass between the fence and the back door. He circled around, then went on his way.

    It’s definitely a natur-y day around here. So, I asked Annika if she would mind if I share her wonderful story about seeing elk in Sweden. She said I could. Her pictures are wonderful.

    Here’s to being lucky enough to share this world with such amazing animals. Wishing each of you a happy Earth Day!

  10. That was wonderful. I can only imagine the fear in the young elk and his mom. I loved the pictures. It reminds me of a trip to Yellowstone when a bear crossed the road we were driving on. They are such powerful, frightening, and intelligent creatures!

    1. Jacqui, wow! You’ve seen a bear in real life – now that is something! Bet you were glad you were in the car. Did you get a photo? I have seen quite a few programmes about bears and just love them. What a wonderful experience. They especially do have a knowing, intelligent look, patient but also quietly threatening…

  11. delphini510

    Thank you Annika, this post is wonderfully uplifting. The unity between the majestic Elk
    and “the metal object ” with little beings inside.
    It seemed to me that mother Elk was quite in charge of the situation and maybe wondered
    about the invaders of their forest.:)
    It is a true gift to be allowed to see these animals in their rightful habitat.

    1. It was a wonderfully uplifting few minutes and I felt so lucky to see them so close by. I like that – us humans as the invaders and out in the forest I certainly feel small compared to the power and grandeur of Mother Nature. What I was particular impressed with was the intuitive reading by Mother Elk of her two young calves, quickly working out the best way to reunite her family. There is nothing quite like seeing wild animals like this in their natural habitat – just from the safety of a car or such like! Wishing you a very happy weekend. πŸ˜€

  12. Great photos, Annika. So fun to encounter those large animals just walking around! We have elk here too. They keep knocking down our wooden fences to get at the fruit trees. Darned elk! Just kidding. Gotta love the wildlife. Can’t wait to hear more about your trip. More pictures too!

    1. Diana, I thought you would have these magnificent animals in your part of the world. Not great about your fences and my mother has the same problem on the land with them and/or the deer nibbling the trees and bushes and impeding growth of the saplings. However, maybe the elks are wondering who are these odd beings in their world!! The nature and wildlife in Sweden give us so much joy, happiness and stillness – as if time has slowed and you feel the days. Oh, lots of photographs to come…I have hundreds to choose from and so difficult deciding which ones to exclude. Wishing you a lovely weekend with the possible sighting of elks!

    1. Thank you, Miriam. I must admit some are taken by my mother with her iPad which she often uses as a camera. Quick thinking she was clicking away whilst I was still trying to locate the animals! They are truly majestic and surprisingly graceful.

  13. I always love when I get the opportunity to see animals like this. I always pray, though, that I’m able to see them and stop before my car and the animal have a meeting of the physical kind. Looks like you were treated to a neat show!

    1. It is like a free wild-life animal safari!! One morning up I woke up early and saw a badger crossing the land. That was amazing as I’d never seen one in real life and we later found the sett. On the other side of the lake are wolves, which we can hear, as well as bears. Luckily we haven’t come across either! Funny you should mention the crossing of a car with an elk – I know someone who ran into an elk, the car was literally turned over, the elk survived and ran away whilst the driver was shaken but safe. Yes, we drive slow and easy on the gravel road for the few miles to the houses!

  14. Amazing photos! Like Book Club Mom, we have a lot of deer in our area as well. I’ve had a few close calls while commuting into the office at 5:30 a.m. I’ll look forward to your photos from Sweden!

    1. I love deer and we have a lot in Sweden and here in the UK – a beautiful sight but not when you’re in danger of running into them commuting! I once had a muntjac deer jump in front of me in the nature reserve near to us – I was so shocked and frightened as it almost brushed against my face. I have over three hundred photos from the holiday so I’ll have to be selective – oh, what a chore (NOT!).

  15. What a lovely description. Your words have a replica elk “movie” playing in my mind about the saga of being separated by something we see everyday and don’t think anything about: the road.

    Can you imagine being that momma elk? The mad dash across praying for babies to be in tact after braving such a thing? The equivalent of us crossing a hugely busy intersection with no crosswalk!

    I bet it was something to see! What beautiful animals. Can’t wait to hear more about Sweden. I’ve never been out of U.S. so, I’m excited to “see” Sweden. 😊

    1. Jessica, your enthusiasm is infectious and you probably realise it was commenting on your post yesterday that inspired me to share this story. We were parked up by the Mother Elk and her young for about ten minutes and you’re right, in that short time I’d scripted the characteristics of the elk and her two young, the adventurous one, the fearful one, the mother torn between them. What surprised me is how safe they seemed to feel around this big metal object close to them – I just worry as it is hunting season in Septebmer when licences are given out for shooting – I just want to shout to them to run away, be safe!

      1. Oh my gosh. I’m honored! Seems easy, as mommas ourselves, to “stand” in her hooves, TRYING to guess what the little ones will do and thus stay one step ahead of them. Motherhood transcends. Doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a human momma or otherwise. πŸ™‚ I admire her for protecting those babies. It’s what we do.

  16. Wow! We have a lot of deer in our area and it’s not unusual to see 10-12 of them together, hanging out. But I’ve never seen an elk (none around here). It’s amazing when you get that close up to an animal like that!

    1. There are a lot of elk in the forest so I’ve been lucky to see some before, but this was the closest run in yet! Very humbling I must admit – and glad I was in the car. Thank you for your lovely comment.

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