Is to have respect
That's amazing, sleeping next to the buffalo. And I agree that there is nothing wrong with anthropomorphizing animals, and respecting that they have an inner life as rich as our own, one that we will likely never understand. One we possibly can't understand. I'm not a spiritual person except in nature. We are a part of it, despite our arrogance. A city is nothing more than a termite mound, and about as permanent. Nature reclaims our settlements all the time. It costs little to respect other animals, and we are better when we do so.
What a wonderful experience! I love Yellowstone so much.
Reading this I was reminded of a time as a teen when my family camped in Yellowstone - we had a knack for always going on our tent camping trips in early June, when there was still snow (Yellowstone. Around lake Superior. The Rockies. All in June, all snowy) Anyway, I have three younger brothers and at the time I they annoyed the heck out of me, so I brought my own solo tent. One morning, my dad told me he thought I'd really been snoring loud last night as he lead me to the back of my tent. At which point he gestured at the indentation in the ground about 5 feet from the tent where a large buffalo had spent the night. (The herd had been close the evening before) It was one of the most disconcerting and awe-inspiring event of my teen years. :)
Chris I felt as if I’m standing next to you in the meadow under the diamond studded sky and I can sense the spirit of the wild buffalo too. I had a very similar experience in a Himalayan village called Jari, a few years ago. I met a beautiful wild fox on a full moon night then. I felt the resurgence of the same fear and thrill I felt back then while I was reading this post. Thank you for sharing this experience. May the stars and all your ancestors prayers, light your way.
“The world was fine without us before our arrival and would certainly be better off with us gone again”, I agree to this with every cell in my body.
A poem I wrote and published many years ago:
Among the Shoots
We don’t talk in the silk night air, stream
murmuring on the right, moths’
apostrophes in the lantern’s glare.
Fingers touching, hand to hand, we wait
on small premises, listen to the hum
of furred bodies slipping
through brush to trees,
the virtual hush of life
busy in itself—so long ago
we can’t remember when
we too were among the shoots,
our leaf-veined otherness etched
beneath an arching skull, eyes
schooled in soil, smell the only text:
October rut of elk, all neck and hackles,
the rack skewed to each bugle,
stanching his losses.
O but who can deny him: the fire in his stare,
the chamfered hoof,
(c) Copyright 1999 Dorothy Dirienzi
I could not love this more. I talk to the trees and birds all the time and I try to listen. When I was little I wanted to be dr. Doolittle when I grew up, and now I really believe communication is happening it’s just up to me to learn the language. A little like “Arrival” only everyone but humans already understand. I love that buffalo came and stayed with you in the village - and that you stayed too and got to see the magnificent dark sky. Wonderful.
I love that you didn't get the memo and ended up sleeping in the tipi where you could enjoy the magnificent night sky with your relative who shared that sacred space with you. Honor and Respect.
I love reading about these experiences, especially of the night sky--something I haven't seen in months and rarely get that clarity to experience unless it's super cold in AK. It was such a beautiful reminder of those summer nights in places away from cities that I miss. And yes to anthropomorphizing all we want--those admonishments not to are as bad as everything else insisting that we are NOT animal, not connected to the lands we live on, to the animals around us. We have a kinship we have neglected for so long in so much of western colonial culture. It hurts and I am here for anthropomorphizing and relating and learning from every animal I get to talk to and witness. ;) Beautiful post as always my friend.
The way you relate to the world makes my life so much better.
I agree... great post... an invitation to love all of life and its inherent magic. You brought a smile to my face when you mentioned the woman who said, "Is that a real wild buffalo?" Or one they brought in from a petting zoo? Ha. I imagined other wild animals brought in from the petting zoo... the rattlesnake... the mountain lion... the moose... the wolf...the bear... Then I imagined a petting zoo featuring fenced-in humans.
"My world is better when I accept that it isn’t that the animals that are dull and stupid, it is that we are." Amen. This was beautiful from beginning to end, Chris. Thank you.
This is such lovely writing about animals and how we relate to/with them. My 15 month old daughter has been raised to speak to trees and birds, other than human neighbors we share life with; we greet them by their first name- "Hi Cedar. Hi Maple. Hi Hawk. Hi Cottonwood. Hi Hummingbird." Her first word was "hi" coincidentally. If only more humans in dominant north american society would remember that our lives are b/c of our Animal/Plant/Fungi/Rock/River/more than human kin.
Your writing takes me to Yellowstone with you...so magical.
We went to Yellowstone years ago. We drove and camped from Upstate NY out to Yellowstone and back. Quite the experience. My Dad didn't like sleeping in the tent so he always slept under the picnic table and one of my sisters would sleep on the top. They had a bet! We woke up one morning and everyone was all upset as there had been "wild life" in the campground. My Dad talked to the ranger about it. The ranger said the animal was actually trying to figure out what noise was coming from our site. It was my Dad snoring! We all slept through it...
Welp, that buffalo story made get teary-eyed. I love your heart and agree so much with the idea that animals are sacred relatives. 💕 Fantastic photos as well. Safe travels.
Thank you for this. So beautifully written. I appreciate your reflections so much. I'm so glad to have discovered your writing.
Thanks for this visit of a buffalo person….
I believe a memo was sent on sleeping arrangements, just not over email. Your in-tune self, aware or not, set up camp right where you were supposed to. I felt expansiveness growing in me as I read your experience.