|If you look in the background, you'll see a gathering of people. I don't know why we thought we'd have better luck if we looked for prairie dogs off the beaten path.|
Happy Groundhog's Day! I don't have a picture of a groundhog, but I do have a picture of a prairie dog, so I thought I'd share the story behind the picture.
We were in the Badlands of South Dakota and heard about the Prairie Dog Village. Hundreds (maybe thousands??) of prairie dogs were concentrated in an area of mounds and tunnels. We bought some sunflower seeds and headed off, hoping we might see one.
When we got there, we began walking around and saw a prairie dog or two pop their heads up out of holes. Entranced, we spread out, hoping to find a hub of prairie dog activity.
My brother cased his hole, inching slowly toward the hole where a prairie dog coyly peeked out at him. Ryan held a sunflower seed in his hand, creeping closer and closer to the hole, hoping the prairie dog would come out, unable to resist the temptation of the seed. I trailed Ryan, hoping to capitalize on his expedition and snap a picture of a prairie dog.
Meanwhile, off in the distance behind me I heard my then-8-year-old son yelling "Mom! Mom!" Intensely focused on the prairie dog progress in front of me, I stage-whispered back to him, "Just a minute!" but he continued to call to me.
Finally, Ryan's prairie dog emerged from his hole and took the bait. We saw a prairie dog! We saw a prairie dog! We were ecstatic. I turned around to call my son Mac over to see it, but stopped in my tracks. There was Mac, surrounded by prairie dogs popping up out of their holes like a hyperactive Whack-a-Mole game. He'd been yelling to me because he was already out of sunflowers seeds and the prairie dogs wanted more.