So many things to learn there.
Friday 6/10. The mountain goats as seen from the boat. Barely. But when they lifted their heads you could tell they really were what the captain said they were.
And Monday 6/13…
Reindeer’s antlers, while they’re growing in, are full of not only the blood that nourishes that growth but nerve endings, and we were told it would be painful to the animals if we were to touch those. So we didn’t. Instead, they passed around a single antler that had been shed at this same velvet stage to satisfy our curiosity, and it was very much as soft as it looked.
(I did not ask if a bear had gotten the little guy for that to have happened. There were children around. And a sleigh for them to climb on and think that Santa knew this place well.)
They told us that elk, unlike reindeer who use their flat upper jaws for hammering against, do have upper teeth and they can bite you. Watch that little guy with the dandelions, those are their favorite. (His mom was right behind him.)
Saturday 6/ 11. A river, whose name escapes me, and one of the trees on our son-in-law’s mom’s property. That water was melting glacier, cold and moving fast. I splashed my hand a bit at the edge in its honor, like I traditionally do at the Potomac River any time I go home: to make this one a part of me, too, now–and I think to claim all his family as our own in the gesture. We met some of them Sunday and I got to thank his mom for raising such a fine man.
Devin pointed out the cowslip and the devil’s club, two plants whose leaves looked very much alike and yet one was welcome but the other was infested with poisoned spikes. You do not want to walk through that one.
We stayed on the trail.
Here, this one over here is cowslip. See that stalk that looks like it has an upside-down fig at the top? There are no spikes on its leaves. It’s safe to go near. But see, this is devil’s club right next to it. It will stab you right through a pair of jeans.
I discovered this evening that, actually, it’s being studied as a treatment for TB.
Wishing good thick gloves to the ones doing the studying.
Someday she and her brothers will go visit their aunt and uncle and learn to look carefully at big pretty leaves.
And then go feed the reindeer.
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