Let’s Talk About the Elk

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At Home|Let’s Talk About the Elk


At Home and Away

Resisting metaphor is tough.

Credit...Simone Noronha

Oct. 13, 2021, 4:00 p.m. ET

Welcome. I can’t halt reasoning astir the elk with the tyre astir its neck:

“For much than 2 years, residents of Pine, a tiny municipality astir 30 miles southwest of Denver, person been sending successful reports to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife authorities whenever they saw an elk that had someway shoved its caput done a tire.”

How did this happen? Perhaps the tyre was portion of immoderate benignant of feeder, possibly it was a tyre swing, Colorado wildlife officials said. On Saturday night, the elk was caught and tranquilized, his antlers sheared and the tyre removed. The elk “stood, unsteadily astatine first, and wandered disconnected into the dark.”


Credit...Dan Jaynes

I’m trying hard not to spot the elk arsenic a wide metaphor — 2 years yoked, 2 years collared, yet starting to roam, nevertheless unsteadily — but I support slipping into it. As the writer Marie Howe erstwhile said, “To defy metaphor is precise hard due to the fact that you person to really endure the happening itself, which hurts america for immoderate reason.” She’s right. It’s pugnacious to look astatine astir 2 years of a pandemic caput on, to picture precisely what happened and is happening. To speech astir the grief and nonaccomplishment and anticipation without reaching for symbols, for comparisons that mightiness confer immoderate meaning connected it all. The elk’s predicament (tire connected neck) and its remediation (remove tyre from neck) are appealing successful their simplicity. Real life, of course, is sprawling, abstract, unpredictable. It’s easier to accidental “We are each the elk” than to reckon with the bewildering particulars of Covid, quarantine and after.

“Soul Train,” helium explained, is his comfortableness food, his shortcut to joy. He plays the episodes successful a changeless loop connected whichever surface is closest to him. The archetypal clip we met successful person, “Soul Train” was playing connected some tv screens of his circuit bus; the past clip we talked by phone, helium had conscionable arrived location from a travel and, earlier adjacent taking disconnected his coat, had flipped connected the show.

—From “The Passion of Questlove,” by Jazmine Hughes.

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