Spring in Montana

Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.

Springtime in Montana. Where the deer and the antelope play. Dora and her soul mate, Dennis, had moved to Montana from a Metropolis. They built a dream house on a knob rising up from the rolling grassy prairie. No trees. Only sagebrush and the occasional century plant. But the view was to die for. To the south, the Yellowstone River surged along. To the north, east and west, open prairie stretched into the distance.

Evenings, Dora and Dennis sat on their roofed-over deck basking in the joy of being one with the natural environment. Daytimes, Dora liked to observe nature on daily walks.

On one particular morning trek, accompanied by Chester and Bandy, her two purse-sized dogs, Dora had a one with the natural environment adventure. What Dennis did that morning doesn’t matter to this story.

Dora and canines headed west along a trail bordering a property-dividing wire fence. From the azure sky (as a fluffy-word poet might say), the sun shone down, warm as a mother’s caress. The canines bounced along with tail-wagging enthusiasm. As Dora strolled, she noticed a wild critter on the other side of the fence! An antelope! Oh, my. She wished she’d thought to bring a camera.

The animal didn’t run away, just watched her from ink-dark eyes the size of billiard balls. Then it emitted a throaty bark. And stalked toward Dora. Chester and Bandy woofed a challenge. Dora whistled them back to her side, murmuring, “Now, Boys, don’t scare it.”

Suddenly the antelope dived under the wire of the division fence and planted itself directly in Dora’s path — a few feet ahead. It barked again and stamped a front foot. Bandy yipped and dashed forward. Chester hid behind Dora.

Ms. Antelope advanced. Dora and Ms. Antelope could have exchanged hugs.

Dora had no weapon, nothing. Not even a rock to pitch. She yelled, she waved her arms, she flapped her hat. The dogs woofed. The antelope barked and refused to back off.

Dora shoved the dogs under the fence, then launched her personal self between the wire strands. Would the antelope duck under and attack? Dora kept walking forward at a smart pace on her side of the fence. Ms. Antelope followed on the other side. Dora increased her speed.

Finally, Ms. Antelope halted. Dora, Chester and Bandy put more distance between themselves and the unfriendly pronghorn.

They returned to the house via a whole different, round-about way. Dora, nearly incoherent from the adrenaline rush, reported her adventure to her soul mate, Dennis, who said, “Well, it was probably a doe. She likely had a fawn hidden nearby. She was only protecting it.”

“Maybe so, but she was right in my face!”

“You could have just shoved her away.”

“She could have knocked me down! She could have sliced me to bits with those sharp hooves. She could have…have…have!”

Advice to those who yearn to be one with the natural environment where the deer and the antelope roam: Don’t mess with a mama antelope. She might roam you to a pulp. ❖


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