The last great buffalo herd was shot in 1898 yesterday.
I saw it on the news before I went to work – 15 bison running next to the highway in frantic formation.
A taste of what we lost.
I know this is a just a small glimmer of what these beasts once meant.
In a former time they were free to roam and they were legion.
And now we got a few “escaped convicts” from a local meat farm answering their instincts and on the run.
They swam across the Hudson River. They ran across interstate highways.
They moved as one – the adults and the young – these tremendous artifacts of a bygone era.
I have to admit when I saw them running – it made me feel good.
This is what they are supposed to do – run from place to place – in a big country that lets you go forever – they are made for this – battering-ram-monsters of freedom.
“Give me a home where the buffalo roam”
This is friggin’ awesome!
But the wheel has turned
Their time is done.
The farm they escaped from employed a few hunters to gun them down (as was their right, according to officials on the scene) – The State police called it “an ugly affair” – with one hunter possibly facing criminal charges for refusing to “finish off” a wounded animal. In all, 22 animals were slaughtered if you include a few shot earlier. All agree– there was no other choice – these animals are too big to contain and too dangerous to let run free.
The meat could not be cared for and got to the buffalo butcher for three months, (not many buffalo meat cutters around, I guess) – so it was deemed no good for human consumption.
This is shades of Buffalo Bill and the other wranglers that forced the land to submission by killing and leaving the skinned carcasses to rot where they were dropped.
No food and clothing – no life for the native people that depended on this animal for countless generations.
Build the railroads and build the new America.
The wheels are turning – progress – industrial might and other stuff all coming to a suburb near you.
But first the buffalo had to go.