Bighorn sheep

Healing Power of Curling Horns

Three years ago on this day, I took this photograph, and in seemingly spiritual ways the experience forever changed my life. I unexpectedly encountered these marvelous creatures known as bighorn sheep in Nevada’s oldest state park, Valley of Fire, near the petroglyphs at Atlatl Rock, just as I prepared to leave.

Valley of Fire is in Overton, roughly an hour’s drive from the Las Vegas Strip, but I wasn’t living in the area at the time, and the place where I did reside had become uninhabitable for me. Photographing these sheep munching on fresh brush in the Mojave Desert at one of my favorite places on Earth opened a window of possibilities in my mind for a novel series in the works, and for my very existence.

I could live here. Not in the park, per se, but close enough to visit regularly to commune with the wonders of Aztec red sandstone and ancient mysterious messages scribed into rock thousands of years ago by the Anasazi, including depictions of bighorn sheep—my favorite petroglyphs.

And with any luck, I would continue to see these bighorn sheep that represented my zodiac sign, Aries the ram, and brought me so much joy to see and spend time in their somehow healing presence.

Bighorns are a species of sheep native to North America, named for their large horns, the males referred to as rams. But both male and female sheep have those fabulously curling horns.

I first glimpsed these sheep decades ago in the Rocky Mountains in Georgetown, Colorado, and have also seen them in Canada’s British Columbia—one was molting and smackdab in the middle of the road—as well as other US locales such as Walker Lake in central Nevada. Montana supposedly has the largest number of bighorns roaming about, but the place where I’ve encountered them most frequently and in abundance is Valley of Fire.

Because two years later on this very day I returned to the park, where another group of bighorn sheep awaited me at the visitor’s center and other spots as I drove beloved and spellbinding winding roads—one was high atop a boulder, peering down at me—so grateful to be living 45 miles away in a rental house despite a viral pandemic sending the world into isolation.

These sheep, munching away, let me photograph them many times over as I spoke softly, as much to myself as to them. They comforted me, made me feel I was in the right place at the right time. Where I needed to be.

Three years later I know I’ve landed in my forever home, not directly in Valley of Fire State Park, though I did make it the headquarters location for Red Orbiters, an alien species in my Other Worldly series. I’ve now written three additional novels since I published the first one, Alienable Rights, just before I visited those majestic bighorn sheep for the second time.

I’m in a new house, still roughly 45 miles from the park, and will be visiting again soon, communing with bighorn sheep and feeling connected to this valley in a way that only nature and creatures running wild can instill. Inspiration awaits to assist me in finishing the fifth novel, Alien Sensation, and beyond.




3 thoughts on “Healing Power of Curling Horns”

  1. For sure seeing them is magical! It’s fitting and right that they bring peace and comfort to my Aries sister:). Having a forever home somehow brings the same. Xo

  2. Valley of Fire is my peace place also. I love going there and looking at all the petraglyphs and seeing the prairie dogs dig and pop up… never had the chance to see the Big Horn sheep, they are so majestic. glad you are here.

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