These big, beautiful buffalo had no trouble roaming around in my head. So why weren’t they roaming around Elk Island National Park?
“Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam,” kept running through my head from the moment we decided to go to the park. Somehow I had triggered childhood memories of the opening line from the song, Home on the Range.
When I was a kid that all sounded warmly sentimental and perfectly reasonable. But having buffalo wandering around a place you are trying to make a home, doesn’t sound quite so appealing anymore. They are beautiful animals but I am thinking there could be a few issues in addition to constantly watching where you step.
And then there are the purists who claim they really should be called bison. Don’t these people know that word doesn’t have enough syllables to work in the song? Besides any song that predates Google must be right!
Setting all that aside, there is still something appealing about the idea of roaming buffalo. I imagine this idyllic scene of carefree wandering, of enjoying the freedom to go wherever they please. I definitely wanted a good roaming photo.
Reality hit when we got to the park. Roaming was not happening. In fact, even the buffalo were in short supply. There was one lonely buffalo lying down and a few hanging around way off in the distance. We seemed to be the only ones roaming aimlessly looking for roaming!
Eventually we caught up with a few buffalo on the move. But this was definitely not roaming. It was all serious marching in a line – military style. Where’s the fun in that?
They took this marching thing so seriously that they seemed to get really close to each other. If it was me, I’d be a little more comfortable with a bit more space.
Even their posture seemed the opposite of roaming. They tended to walk with heads lowered, back hunched, plodding along … just following the ample buttocks in front of them.
Don’t get me wrong, they were impressive creatures and I enjoyed their company. It’s just that the song had created this carefree ideal that seemed to be missing.
To be fair, it is harder to roam in the snow. But when you start bad habits, they can easily carry on even when the snow is gone.
Something must be done. I’m thinking of going back in summer and setting up a roaming class for these buffalo. Who knows, I might even break into song – that should definitely kick in some roaming.