Simple Gifts

I believe I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world; the Snoqualmie Valley. I get to see amazing things everyday. It's time to celebrate that. (You can view pictures in larger format by clicking on them)

Monday, June 19, 2006


We were so excited when we first started seeing the bison, but by the end you could hear one of us say "It's just a bison". It's amazing how much novelty and limitation affects our perceptions. We didn't have to search for them and their behaviors were fairly predictable. So we started to focus our energies on searching for other animals. It's not so different in human relationships, when the "wow" factor wears off you have a chance for deeper understanding if we don't turn away.
We finally saw the babies (light brown)

We didn't completely discount the bison. We watched closely, noticing how the bison shed off their winter coats. We'd comment on how "clean" some looked. We had the sense that we could just grab a tuft and pull. It was reminiscent of the desire to pull off skin from a sunburn. We were also watching for babies. We didn't see any at first. Was because they were hidden or because we were so distracted by the novelty at first we didn't really look? We also wanted to see them crossing the river (I missed it but Renae, Chris and Tasha did get to see this). I think by seeing them cross the river we hoped to get a better sense of their size and power.

Bison with deer in the background.
This Bison made it clear he was crossing the trail before we did.

One of the things that continually struck me is the harsh conditions they survive. Much of Yellowstone is over 8,000 Ft. Winters are long and fierce. We kept finding tracks or droppings in the midst of geysers, boiling pools and the stink of sulfur. I couldn't understand why they would seek these areas out. From my reading I know that they go there in winter for warmth, but that didn't really answer my question. Why were they going there in June? My theory is that they get some mineral from the area, but how do they know where it's safe to go? I think it will always be a mystery to me. They seem so placid, but their life is fraught with hazards past and present. What is clear to me, is that they are survivors and I'm honored I got to watch them.

We met this one in a parking lot.
The rock was a good scratching post

A 'bison bed'.
They seemed to clear all the grass from where they would lay.

I'll tell more of the story in the wolf entry.

Click on any picture to make it larger


Blogger Eliza said...

Wow--the bison in the last photo looks huge!!

4:57 PM  
Blogger Herman said...

Well, it seemed huge and it was mighty close. I will tell more of that storey sooooon :)

10:04 PM  

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