EARTHFIRE STORIES

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Jean flung the door to the office cabin open in great agitation. “We’re out of water! Call the Water Master!” (It was Sunday afternoon - unlikely to be effective). I asked mildly why we needed to call the Water Master. “Because he just put in a big irrigation system and he is stealing our water! How can you be so calm! I can’t wash the animals or water the trees in all this heat! And I can’t take a shower!” We are on well water, and like old western movies about range wars, there are still ongoing fights about water rights in this high mountain desert. There is little that riles up ranchers more than water rights. In the morning, without...

-- by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. -- I was driving to town the other day to run errands. I was almost there when I suddenly felt a strange movement and weight on the top of my right thigh. I looked down and thought, “That is a large mouse.” Then I realized it wasn’t a mouse at all. It was an ermine.* We have had a family on the property for years. They have never caused any trouble with our chickens or eggs, and we peaceably coexisted, though once one ill-advisedly attached itself to the back of the foot of one of our ducks. We take great delight in seeing their lithe forms darting across the property. We don’t keep domestic cats because of their preying on birds and other small animals...

— by Susan Eirich, PhD — I bring him fresh-cut wild rose bushes as he comes over to greet me and daintily pull at the green leaves between the thorns. I stroke his long graceful neck; his smooth chestnut flanks and admire the impossibly long lashes over huge liquid brown eyes. The soft browns and grays that follow the delicate curves of his face. The lovely shape of his ears. The impossibly slender legs. He twists his flexible neck to peer back intently into my face and arches it against me in companionship. His whole being is a thing of grace and function. An exquisite creation. A little three-legged deer who can run like the wind. How can there be anything so lovely on this...

-- by Susan Eirich, PhD -- As Jean walked into the bear area, he caught something unusual out of the corner of his eye. He turned to his right. Teton Totem was in his pool enclosure facing east, bathing himself in the early morning sun. He was balancing on his ample bottom, with his feet up in the air in a “v” shape, his front paws holding onto his back paws. He was holding perfectly still. Jean couldn’t believe it. He rushed to get someone else to witness it; “Do you see that? Do you see that? Teton is doing yoga!” Drawings by Jean of Teton Totem (Left) and Humble Bumble (Right) stretching It wasn’t a fleeting action. He held the position for several minutes. And he hadn’t...

-- by Susan Eirich, PhD -- They emerge slowly, tentatively– is it time yet? A damp nose. Sleepy little brown eyes. Fuzzy ears. One front leg reaches out of the den entrance. Followed by another. Slowly the front of the body emerges, seeming to expand as it squeezes out the narrow entrance. Half in and half out, the back arches in another streeeeeeetch. Then the back half emerges. Nothing is rushed. Once out, another long, luxurious, stretch. After all, it’s been four months…… (Bears are more like us than we think) They sniff around a bit, not too lively yet. We offer lettuce to ease their fast. They nibble half-heartedly. Their stomachs aren’t quite up to it. We give them...

(Visited 2,633 times, 1 visits today)