So, there have been recurring sightings in Colorado of a particular four-year-old male elk, noticeable because he had slipped his head through an auto tire and then grown antlers so large that the tire would not slip off. I do not live in Colorado, but I heard about this yesterday in the New York Times.
“It’s tough to look at nearly two years of a pandemic head on, to describe exactly what happened and is happening. To talk about the grief and loss and hope without reaching for symbols, for comparisons that might confer some meaning on it all. The elk’s predicament (tire on neck) and its remediation (remove tire from neck) are appealing in their simplicity. Real life, of course, is sprawling, abstract, unpredictable. It’s easier to say “We are all the elk” than to reckon with the bewildering particulars of Covid, quarantine and after.”“Let’s Talk About the Elk,” Melissa Kirsch, New York Times, October 13, 2021
For this elk, there was a solution. People tranquilized it, sawed off its antlers, slipped the tire over its head, then gave it a drug to reverse the effects of the tranquilizer. It woke up and walked away. For a while, it will also be less vulnerable to hunters, as they will not want to shoot it if there are no antlers to take as a trophy. The elk had to accept help. This, too, is a metaphor.