Seeing one Ram in its natural habitat is pretty amazing. Seeing five, AT ONCE was clearly an omen that I couldn’t disregard.
There are some days where I venture out specifically to get a photo of an animal. If I knew there was a Hawk’s nest in a nearby park and I went with the intention of getting photos of them, its not a very synchronistic event. But the day that I saw the Ram was completely unlike that.
I didn’t know why but I had this incredible urge to go to the desert. I purposely left my cell phone at home and started driving towards the desert. Somewhere along the way, the thought of visiting Joshua Tree popped in my head. Although I’d lived in Southern California for a number of years and have been to the desert many times, Joshua Tree had eluded me. I didn’t have a good reason for it. That was just how it was. So on 2/16/14 it was time to visit Joshua Tree.
Driving there without a cell phone in the car was incredibly fascinating. Time seemed to not exist. I didn’t have to be anywhere at any time so it was easy to lose track of distance, minutes, and hours. I noticed only the subtle changes in the music, the birds flying overhead, and the vibrations in the road. I was driving on freeways in Los Angeles, not on a mountain road somewhere. But I was astonished at just how different the experience was when “unwired”. Maybe it was psychological, but it was powerful and not something you can experience when you’re distracted even by just having a phone in the car with you.
Joshua Tree is otherworldly in appearance, but the experience was a bit sullied by the fact that it was a free weekend at California State Parks. It was packed and very hard to get a moment alone. But this was synchronicity day so I just wandered around taking photos of the landscape.
As the Sun started to get lower on the horizon, it cast shadows across the Joshua Trees that gave it a much different mood than it had in broad daylight. The Joshua Trees are everywhere and give you the feel of being surrounded by beings that are just watching. And each one has a unique appearance and personality. Some are broad and tall. Others twisted and short. I walked around at twilight snapping photos of interesting ones that I encountered.
I decided to leave the park while there was still some light and my plan was to end up in Desert Hot Springs, get a discounted room at my favorite place and soak in the mineral pools. I was a little disappointed in Joshua Tree at this point. I drove three and a half hours and couldn’t say anything truly life changing happened. But I didn’t dwell on it, instead figuring that it was just a trick from the Universe to get me to the desert for some reason. I remember just thinking that something amazing would happen at Desert Hot Springs.
This is one of the last photos I shot before I saw the Ram. Little did I know I was actually shooting a photo OF the Ram. I just couldn’t see it from this vantage point.
Before I get to the rest of the story, I want to clarify something regarding the use of the name “Ram”. A Ram is a male Bighorn Sheep. The males are Rams and the females are Ewes. They both have horns, but the hornier ones are the males(pun intended). Based on what I’d read, the first one I saw(pictured at the top) is a Ram. He sure seemed to be sovereign and dominant with the biggest horns of the group.
I came around a turn and saw a man on the road side with a huge lens pointed straight up the hill. I looked up while still driving and saw why! This is the best representation of what the Ram looked like from the bottom of the hill.
I immediately pulled over, switched to my 300mm lens and walked cautiously towards the hill shooting photos along the way. It was like something right out of a movie. The Ram was posing for us on top of the hill on the rocks. He didn’t even look real in the way he was just stoically posing. When he did move, he was incredibly confident, graceful and powerful.
What started as 1 quickly turned into 3……
and finally 5!
There was a small group people on the side of the road standing there watching in amazement. Each time one would move, you’d hear some combination of us oohing and aahing. We were quite a distance away so I was fortunate to have my 300mm lens. The lighting was dim and photos with a cell phone or point and shoot camera would have never done this experience justice.
The Bighorn Sheep family just hung out for a while as if they were watching the Sunset. Eventually, they casually strolled off one by one. I waited for the last one to leave but he didn’t. The sky darkened to where I couldn’t see him and I decided to call it a night.
The Message – Get Outside of Your Head
On my ride to Desert Hot Springs, all I could think about was this experience. They were so powerful, graceful and calm. I thought of the obvious meaning of them having perfect balance. They are incredibly sure footed as they navigate the rocky terrain. But the message couldn’t be that obvious. There was something about the horns. I’d read of Rams during mating season having epic head butting sessions that could be heard from miles away. Was this an omen of stubbornness? That theme didn’t resonate with me. It wasn’t until I got to Desert Hot Springs and took a good look at my photos that it hit me.
Their horns are outside their head. Getting outside one’s head! Isn’t that what synchronicity day was REALLY about? Sure, getting outside of one’s phone is a big task but it was all a trick to get outside my head. Once I did get outside of my head and got completely tuned in to synchronicity, that’s when magic happened. Not many people see Bighorn Sheep in Joshua Tree. On my first time in Joshua Tree on a very crowded day, I saw 5 of them! At once! If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.
The Bighorn Sheep were clearly the magic of the day. When I got Desert Hot Springs, I confidently walked in to the lobby and announced my presence and that I needed a room. The lady gave me a look and said, “we’re booked solid….it’s a holiday weekend.” I didn’t realize President’s Day was such a big holiday in the desert, but now I know better. I asked if she knew of another hotel that might have a room and she said everybody was booked. Sure….everybody. I used the hotel’s wifi to search Priceline and she was right. The options were terrible at best. So I just went home.
The Ram Omen was all about getting outside of my head. When I look at these photos, I’m instantly back in that moment watching in awe as these beautiful, powerful beings graced me with their presence. They could have been anywhere at that moment, but there were right there; perfectly timed and perfectly placed just like every other animal omen that I’ve experienced.
If you enjoyed this, then you’ll probably also enjoy some of my other posts in The Lessons of Nature.