The rain stopped as the sky lightened. Bawbi was the first to wake and touch Hoko. “Where?” she asked? Hoko showed her. “Time to Move?” she asked? Hoko threw her a smile and showed her many buzzard circles. She relaxed, threw a smile back then turned her back to Hoko and reached for Bawbo. Hoko politely put Bawbi and Bawbo in shadow.
Since Bawbi and Bawbo were awake, Hoko figured his mate should wake up too. The overhang gave him barely enough room to swing his legs around and he sat up cross legged. Hoki was sleeping on her side, curled into a ball on the pine straw. Hoki grinned to himself and reached over and began gently rubbing Hoki’s rump. As usual, she woke with an indignant gasp, sat up and playfully tossed a swat back at Hoko’s head. They laughed. Hoko showed Hoki his shadow on Bawbi and Bawbo, so she quickly shadowed them too.
“Breakfast?” asked Hoki? Hoku responded with an empty stomach and a picture of Skunk Cabbage growing in the glade just down rise from them. Hoki tossed a wink, got to her feet and stepped out from under the Sugar Pine’s cover. The forest floor was still wet and very soft from the rain, but her partially furred feet made almost no impressions in the ground as she walked toward Hoku’s sleeping spot.
Hoku, peeking out from his leaf drift, saw Hoki coming across the clearing. He rose and went out to meet her. They hugged each other. Held hands and walked toward the Skunk Cabbage glade.
Suddenly, Lumko woke and hollered “Where?” But, his holler was to no one in particular, so his misdirected shout startled everyone and instantly woke his mate Lumki, who quickly echoed, “Where?” Hoko and Hoki’s shadow of Bawbi and Bawbo instantly vanished and the six of them were instantly together. Hoko quickly showed them where the terrors were and wrapped his huge arms around the far younger and much small pair. Lumko responded with a sigh of youth and insisted “We need to move.” Hoko hugged the young pair tighter and showed many buzzard circles. Hoku was the oldest male so his decisions were sacrosanct in the clutch.
Hoku backed away from the Lumkoos. They had bonded at birth and were now only six winters old. He showed the Skunk Cabbage in the glade and everyone, except Lumko, tossed back a smile and showed an empty stomach. Soon, the clutch was sitting in the mud in the glade. They would grasp a Skunk Cabbage plant and quickly yank it upward. The plant usually separated from its roots a few inches below the surface and up would pop a beautiful pure white stalk which allowed two or three bites of a wonderfully fragrant crunchy delicacy, very high in nutrition.