(originally posted May 4, 2016)
My excitement and curiosity exceeded any rational thoughts of caution. It was dusk and I thought I could use the cover of the low light to sneak a peak at my expectant mothers. I climbed the tall sloping hill like a burglar, knowing it would be an incredible dash to safety if there was any objection to my presence. Buffalo seek quiet alone places to calve and had moved to the farthest corner of the pasture. I crested the hill and there they were, only a few yards away, staring right at me! Two cows walked toward me. I was busted and had no time to scan for little cinnamon colored newcomers. My first thought was to back slowly and quietly away so my presence would not threaten them.
Raising Buffalo was so new to me. I knew only what I had been told. Buffalo are wild by nature and can be very dangerous. They can outrun a horse, turn on a dime, jump a six foot fence from a standing position and are never to be trusted. Yet, I loved them beyond reason. I was in awe of them, their size, their confidence, their gentle and powerful presence combined. Those big dark eyes looked right at and through me. There was an honesty about them I wanted to learn. Capturing, confining and manipulating their lives did not feel very honest or honoring to me. Buffalo do what they want, go where they want and they were in my small, poorly fenced pasture appearing content to be here.
Nearly face to face with these two cows still coming at me, my thoughts quickly turned to survival. I ran. The hill was so steep, the light so low I couldn’t run flat out. I felt them, I heard them, I could almost feel their breath on me. One was beside me. Now one was on the other side of me. I could have reached out and touched horns on either side. What happened next I cannot explain, only try.
In a moment out of time as stepping through an invisible veil, I had no legs or feet, I was flying, floating down the hill. The cows were within inches of me on either side, moving in a slow rhythmic motion that denied time and space. I was euphoric, my chest felt like it would burst with joy. I felt love that went beyond any boundaries I had ever imagined…my body could not contain me. I looked right and left, we were moving in perfect sync, floating outside of time. I was home, I was safe, I was loved completely without question. Every cell in me knew this and was singing in ecstasy.
Imagine being plucked out of danger by a great bird in the sky the way it happens in fairy tales. Riding its’ back fearlessly as the world swept by, then being delivered gently to the ground at your destination. I was at the gate. I don’t remember opening it or going through it. I remember watching as the mothers- to- be turned and walked back up the hill. My head and heart could find no home. I wanted to go with them, be with them, never leave them or lose this feeling.
My life completely changed in a few brief minutes. Fifteen years later I walk with Buffalo, live with Buffalo and they continue to teach me, experience by experience what it can be to be truly alive.