Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Afternoon of a Faun

The Soldiers of my new unit have been taking turns going out to the ranges to qualify with their weapons (pistols and rifles). As the crow flies, the ranges are not far from the cantonment area, but you can't get there from here, so it's about a six-mile drive, one-way.

Since everybody (but me!) has to do this training (I'm a non-combatant after all), I've been going out there each evening to do religious services while the Soldiers are waiting for nightfall so they can do their night firing. Lots of waiting, as it's not really dark before 2045 these days, and evening chow ends at 1900.

It's been years since this unit has had a Chaplain of its own, so many of the personnel seem quite pleased that situation has changed.

Last night, as I was driving back to the barracks just at dusk, I noticed a small herd of about a dozen elk (yes, elk!) in the field off to my left. They were running parallel with my car, about 100 meters away, led by a male with a huge set of antlers.

My brother-in-law Glenn and his sons would have gone nuts.

That great animal paced my vehicle, with his harem and their young'uns following along.

If I slowed down my vehicle, he slowed down. If I came to a stop, he came to a stop. When I started moving, he started moving, parallel and in the same direction.

Very odd.

This continued for about a mile and a half, much to my delight. Unfortunately for me, it was just too dark to have been able to photograph them with my small camera.

As we moved along, I also noticed a family of feral pigs in the same field. They were not quite as photogenic as the elk, or as interested in me, but seeing as I'd heard stories about units out in the field on maneuvers encountering and barbecuing local hogs, I was glad to see some for myself.

It was dark by the time I arrived back at the barracks.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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1 comment:

Kanani said...

What a great image. No photos needed, but just a nice picture of a soldier enjoying a piece of nature.

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