They are looking for love just like the rest of us.
This year they congregate in two places and the competition is fierce. The males grunt in frustration, drool in anticipation, and they run full-speed at their competitors. They are driven by lust; seduced by the scent of their prize. The winners receive more than a roll around in the dirt, and bragging rights of a spartan.
The winners will stake claim as the strongest bloodline to perpetuate their species.
The females are not afraid, and instead, they prance around wagging their tails in temptation. They are delighted to be the reason for the venue, while the children do everything they can do to stay out-of-the-way.
We have watched the life cycle of the bison since our arrival in April. During that time their slender bodies, covered in thick fur, were still plowing through snowdrifts. To see them meant they had survived another harsh winter in Yellowstone. In mid-spring the calves frolic though meadows and get their feet wet.
Throughout summer the bison can only be described as eating machines. They are already preparing for the next winter. They lift their heads for two reasons; to find greener pastures, and to watch over their young. They seem content and quite docile as their bellies are full and they bask in the warm summer sun. Late summer invites new entertainment in both Lamar and Hayden Valleys. The herds have gathered here, with the shot of cupid’s arrow. The bison are in rut, and they are changed. We laugh and enjoy the funny escapades of the desperate animals. The older males are ousted and are seen on the fringe of the herds. The new generation seeking their place are schooled by the leaders; and the sultry females. They will have to wait their turn.
I come away in awe with knowledge that does not come from a book, and instead from this moment in time.
Humbled again by this beautiful place I also call home.