They have been gone for weeks. The warmer weather set them off to the higher country as their predators begin to look lower. But now here she comes with a little one on her flank, warily testing the wind, her ears flicking in every direction. No willows are munched this time. She is on high alert, the best defense for the future generation she guards. At the slam of a tourist's car door, they bolt back into the trees. There is a crashing and splashing as they cross the creek. Then they are gone, leaving only a scolding squirrel and this picture.
I'm glad our neighbors are back. Hidden behind that spruce with it's tiny pointed ears and widened nostrils is the hopeful assurance they will be back for years to come.