On Facebook, someone pasted a video of a bison stampede in Yellowstone, with the caption asking people to describe the video in one word. My word?
Last summer, the entire family (including the Not-So-Little Drummer Boy, visiting from New York) went to Yellowstone. The geothermal pools and geysers were magnificent, but so was the wildlife. The bison in particular seemed to be everywhere: meadows, roads, strolling through picnic areas…
At one point in the road to the Grand Prismatic Pool (oh, my God it was gorgeous — except for me, the blue pool* in front of it was so beautiful it almost made me cry) we saw a herd of buffalo and pulled over to photograph it.
Normally, I am the one urging caution. “No, guys, don’t go geocaching in that rural deserted agricultural field at midnight. I’ve seen those slasher flicks.” “Yes, I know it’s the Grapevine and you don’t have to use the gas at all — could you please slow down?”
But this time, I was out there shooting frame after frame (most of which were terrible — tremors make photography tricky). “Pat, you might want to get in the car.” “Pat, really…”
At this point, a huge male turned and headed across the road, looking straight at me. “Yeah, you might have a point,”I answered when he was about fifteen feet away, and hurriedly climbed back into the rental SUV. I guess the bison was satisfied with my retreat, because he turned and headed up the road until he hit the line of traffic coming the other direction, most of which had pulled over.
The Subaru at the head of the line hadn’t. The bison looked at the Subaru. The Subaru didn’t budge. The bison apparently saw this as a challenge; he lowered his head and started pawing the ground.
At this point, the Subaru made a hasty retreat, pulling over as far as he could without falling over the shoulder. The bison, his authority recognized, headed on down the road, followed by several others, while the line of tourists in either direction got longer and longer.
All of this is why, now when I see pictures of bison, I think of Subarus.
*If you have U-Verse cable, you might see it: it occasionally pops up as one of their screensavers.