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The sound of rich green well-watered Texas grass brushed against the chassis of the ATV like waves under a sailboat. “There!” Gary sounded the discovery. “Under the trees,” he added to the alert.
He deftly guided the ATV to a stop as we saw animals scurrying in the shadows of a deep draw, crowded by trees. Once movement stopped, we started again, this time slowly into a gully, negotiating the descent with care. Up the embankment on the opposite side we cautiously crept over the top and came to another stop in the rich pasture.
Ahead, gracefully moving as a herd aware of the presence of humans but certain that the distance was a safe margin, a herd of elegant Blackbucks meandered out of a row of trees. One dominant buck was directing its herd of doe. It was the closest I had ever been to this exotic wildlife animal outside of a zoo enclosure.
Karl and Beth’s Texas ranch served as home to several gorgeous species of wildlife. It was a privilege to feast my eyes on this majestic animal that God created. They are fast, graceful, intelligent, agile and colorful.
In this herd the buck showed off its long, thick and perfectly formed spiral horns. His coat covers his top half in dark brown, almost black. God contrasted that with a white underbelly and chest.
Its face sets him apart with both eyes encircled with white patches. When it stares at you its nose is also ringed with white. Out in the open the colors seem aesthetically balanced.
Yet, take that same animal and let it melt into the woods and it disappears. God created these magnificent animals with both beauty and practicality. The Blackbuck is no exception.
While the male stands out as bigger, decked with powerful horns and marked with distinctive colors, the doe are different. All of them are light brown, slender and ready for flight. They are different but the same as their dominant leader.
Smoothly, they glide through the pasture like they are gently carried along by the Texas breeze. We quietly watch and marvel. Then, they run and disappear as if by a wave of a massive magic wand. God created a masterpiece and He let us watch them.
photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography