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20.000 x 14.000 inches
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Tom Blodgett Jr
Painting - Watercolor
My relatives of the Sierra Nevada Mountains were brought back from the brink of extinction, as result of settlers and livestock born disease, not more than two decades ago. My relatives of the pockets of the desert mountain ranges currently contend with reduced precipitation and suitable vegetation. Down in numbers but not defeated, I stand strong. Despite your zoom lens, my sharp eyes see you. Even at this distance, I project my willingness to fight you, if need be.
The scruffiness of my coat is now gone, and the lushness of this time of year is most welcome after what was a long winter. As I do every summer, I�ll be spending my time on the steep mountain slopes. The ewes are still in seclusion with their newborn lambs, trying as best they can to avoid predators. As for me, I run with a loosely knit band of rams. It is now dusk, a time when I like to enjoy my sedges before retiring to my bedding spot, the same one I�ve had for years. I regurgitate my food, chewing it as cud, before swallowing it one last time so my stomach can handle the rest of the process.
The air is crisp as the night moves in. I�ve seen movement out of the corner of my eye, but whatever it was is now hidden from sight. My adrenaline pumps as my body naturally readies itself for flight from any number of predators, such as coyotes, mountain lions, and wolves. I take a few bounds up the slope, feeling that something is watching me, waiting to strike. I am not ready to go and will put up a fight, but I simply don�t possess the weaponry of many animals that roam these parts. My horns, while 30 pounds, simply can�t contend with claws and teeth. The only thing that has saved me time and time again are, believe it or not, my hooves. They are split, with a rough bottom that gives me a strong traction without taking up too much surface area. This means I can stay balanced on to cliff ledges where most others can�t.
I�m purposely heading towards treacherous terrain now, hoping this will deter whatever is behind me. It seems like it�s worked. The question is how patient, or should I say, how hungry is whatever was behind me.
The crack of horns and skulls echo across the cliffs. Through the snow flurries our eyes are fixed. He is older and older rams usually win, but I�m strong and ready to take my chances. He begins his approach, and I charge as fast as I can � momentum is everything. Our horns clash before I can hear the sound of the collision echoing off the surrounding cliffs. My nose is bleeding. I�ve suffered trauma, but I�ll survive.
April 22nd, 2011
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