This photograph received "Commended" honors in the ENDANGERED: Art for Apes international competition in Fall 2020.
These American Bison live at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, CO. There are 180 adults and 26 calves now living at the refuge. As many as 30-60 million bison once roamed the North American West, but mass slaughters brought them to the brink of extinction in the late 1800s. Today there are about 11,000 wild bison on public lands in 12 states including these.
You’re going down the road minding your own business and - what is that?! - a herd of American Bison is in the middle of the road. A sign declares “All Way Stop!” and there’s a fence where you want to go around the huge beasts. They are not moving and you’ve got places to go and people to see, but that’s just not going to happen. All the horn beeping and cursing in the world is not going to change the situation, at least not for the better. All you can do is … wait. Wait until they are good and ready to allow you to pass. And that we did, as the herd licked salt residue from the road, enjoying the sunshine and each other’s company, oblivious to our presence. The parallel to life didn’t escape me. When annoyances and obstacles abound, there’s nothing to gain from waving your fist except maybe bruises or worse. Better to closely observe and bide your time. Then as soon as they get to the other side of the double yellow line, step on the gas and watch them disappear in the rearview mirror.
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