JourneyAmerica: Behind the Image — Buffalo Stampede

The earth shook with the combined force of a 747 crashing, volcanos erupting and 3 earthquakes. The vibration felt like it does when you stand three feet too close to the monster speakers at an Incubus Concert.

I was just outside of Eusick, Washington when it happened. I had gone to a buffalo ranch on 3000 acres. With me was a friend who had been a noted civil rights lawyer, but had changed his focus to environmental law. He was there to talk to the owner of the ranch and I was there to see some buffalo.

As my lawyer friend — now that’s an oxymoron — and his client talked and got down to business, I wandered off to see what there was to see.

It was a typical warm and sunny day in southeast Washington State. Plenty of sunshine and fresh air made me glad to be alive and outside.

I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to my surroundings when I wandered down a trail that was bordered by a hill and a fence. There was only one gate and I had just passed it about twenty feet ago.

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The earth shook. The planes crashed. The loudspeakers started blaring.

Looking over my shoulder I saw 300 head of angry buffalo charging dow

n the hill like maniacal women shoppers on Black Friday. I watched as they came towards me. No trees to hide behind. No rocks to climb. The wire fence wouldn’t offer protection either.

Nothing else to do but stand in the middle of the trail and keep pressing the shutter.

I watched the cows come first with their calves. Then the bulls. Snorting, dust flying and the ground pounding almost as hard as my heart.

And then it happened, twenty feet from me.

They turned. For some reason. They turned. Made a hard left and went through the gate.

I got the image.

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