Following Pronghorn: LAPC & WWP

I’ve been following pronghorn for years. They have much to teach us.

following pronghorn near Great Basin Npk

A restless past

In the distant past, I was always restless, bounding from place to place, relationship to relationship. Once I started sensing my roots taking hold, I would break free, fleeing restraints. I sprinted towards the next place or person. Like an animal being pursued by a predator, I found it easier to run.

Grazing pronghorn buck in Yellowstone

Following Pronghorn

One day I started thinking of pronghorns, those iconic creatures of the Wild West, differently. Maybe I could learn something from them. They are a one-of-a-kind animal, not quite fitting into any family. I felt that way too and I began following pronghorn.

Following pronghorn at Steens Mtn

If pronghorns encounter obstacles, they cannot leap over them, they must find a way under or around them. I honed my skills at getting out of difficult situations. Finding the path is not always easy.

Large pronghorn buck at Yellowstone

Pronghorn’s excellent vision and enormous eyes give them a 320-degree field of vision. I broadened my views and opened my eyes to observe more of the world around me.

Pronghorn herd at Malheur NWR

In parts of their range, pronghorn migrate seasonally, while in other locations, they stay year-round. I migrated from the rain forest to the High Desert where I found a comfortable life. It’s the right habitat for me throughout the year.

Marking pronghorn buck in Yellowstone May 2017

Pronghorns are cautious yet curious. They have come within inches of me, close enough to inhale the scent of their musky perfume. It’s difficult to let your guard down, but it’s okay to let curiosity guide you once in a while.

A herd near Hart Mountain

Though capable of traveling at amazing speeds, pronghorn spend much of their time grazing. I’m not fleet of foot, but I found the pace that works best for me. Fast is not always better.

Lone doe at Yellowstone

In winter, pronghorn live in large herds. At other times of the year, they travel in small groups or alone. Large groups are fine at certain times, but it’s okay to find comfort alone or with just a few.

Rooted in place

Pronghorn settled into High Desert environments best suited for them to survive. They are rooted in the West.

A herd at Hart Mountain

Other restless wanderers blow by me, like tumbleweeds tossed by the wind. I allow my roots to grow through sandy soil and anchor themselves under boulders, dense and volcanic. This is home.

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Weekend Writing Prompt – Restless

Outdoor pronghorn painting: First Friday Art

Outdoor pronghorn painting by Siobhan Sullivan August 2020

Here’s an outdoor pronghorn painting I did in our backyard. It’s the first Friday of the month so it’s time to share your First Friday Art. If you have artwork you would like to share, use the First Friday Art tag.

We have an 8 x 16 foot shed in the backyard and it had a boring blank west-facing wall. It needed something to make it more interesting. I thought of painting a pronghorn, one of my favorite critters.

Out building prior to painting near Bend, Oregon August 2020
The shed prior to painting
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Where the pronghorn roam: Monochrome Monday

Where the pronghorn roam 1November2017
A large herd of pronghorn near Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, Oregon

Monochrome Monday

Pronghorn herd in the High Desert

Last fall, we saw a pronghorn herd on the drive to Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in southeast Oregon. This herd consisted of about 100 bucks and does.

You can see Hart Mountain peeking out in the distance. A storm was moving in. Here are pictures of the storm as it developed. Storm Clouds over Hart Mountain.

Pronghorn herd near Hart Mountain, Oregon 1November2017

Can you find a big buck watching over his harem in this picture? Both bucks and does can have horns, though the does’ are small or sometimes absent. Males have short black manes, a neck patch, and black markings across their forehead.

Weekly Photo Challenge – A Face in the Crowd

Pronghorn beneath a grassy rainbow

Herd of pronghorn at Malheur NWR in Oregon 14Sept2017

Here’s a serene scene of a herd of pronghorn at Malheur NWR in Oregon. The grasses and shrubs behind them form a rainbow of varied color.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Serene

Dissipating clouds: Remembering the pronghorn

Pronghorn near Antelope, OR 12-11-2015

Sometimes you can be trudging along with a little dark cloud hovering over your head and you almost walk by something intended for only you to see. I had one of those moments years ago at Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. I had been doing research there and often saw pronghorn on sagebrush covered hills in the distance.

Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge

Hart Mountain National Antelope RefugeThe refuge was created in southern Oregon in 1936 to protect pronghorn, otherwise known as antelope. This icon of the Wild West is an interesting creature. More closely related to giraffes than deer, their uniquely shaped horns have a bony core that is covered with a sheath that they shed every year. They are capable of running at speeds as fast as 55 miles per hour for short distances.

On that long ago day, I took a hike by myself to sort out my thoughts. I walked on a trail that bordered a willow-lined creek. My head was down, focused on the gravelly trail ahead of me.

Pronghorn at Hart Mountain

A close encounter

I almost didn’t notice the pronghorn next to the trail. It was so close I could have stretched out my arm and touched it. I stopped and looked at it as it stared at me. Pronghorn have enormous eyes shaded by long lashes. The pronghorn looked at me curiously with those expressive eyes. The disc of white hair on its rump started to stand up as it does when they are alarmed. I stood stock still.

I’m not sure how long we both stood there regarding each other. The pronghorn eventually made a soft snorting noise and moved on its way. I stood there for a while and the thoughts of anger I previously had disappeared.

Pronghorn at Yellowstone

Steps in the right direction

Sometimes you just need to move on from things that make you angry or sad. I had a big loss this week but I decided to try to focus on some of the good things in my life. I also took steps towards more happiness.

Here are some of them:
• Rejoiced at having 150 followers on my blog as of this week (Thanks followers!)
• Joined a new children’s book writing group that meets locally
• Joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators group
• Signed up for eight springtime hikes
• Took pictures of wintery scenes
• Continued “research” on coffee shops in Bend
• Wrote, wrote, and wrote some more

I hope you find ways to dissipate the dark clouds in your lives!   sunclipart