October 9, 2013
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Whipping up the freshly fallen fine powder snow, a warm breeze softened the air and melted the thin ice covering the young buds. The withered petals and shells were kicked from their shriveled stems and onto the frosted soil where the handsome locusts’ eggs were soon to be hatching. In the trees, the animated song birds glided gracefully, energized by the fresh wind.

An elder bison contentedly grazed in the late winter prairie. Its long, shaggy, dark coat dripped droplets of water onto the ground, melting the snow around it and penetrating the prairie grasses’ tough roots. Making it through now thirteen winters showed in the bison’s features. The coarse hair around its muzzle and eyes grayed and the bison’s gate slowed and rocked. It shoveled the snow away from the sparse big bluestem grass, tinted red and the tan buffalo grass which had become dominated by new foreign flora blown in from the southeast.

Down the hill, a large group of cows grazed and calves nursed. The heated breeze excited the calves and they frolicked and rolled around in the bison wallows, covering their bright auburn coats in cool brown dirt. Many strutted about to show their dominance and even engaged in head-butting duels with each other; while their mothers, nutrient deprived from pregnancy, indulged on the plants breaking up through the frozen ground.

Then there was a sudden disturbance on the field. The calves stopped with their games and returned to their mothers and the cows migrated towards each other to secure the herd. The old bison lifted its snout into the wind and could smell the unfamiliar scent.

Breaking over the southern horizon, a young bull marched his way towards the herd. A bull of three years, his peaked sturdy legs pounded the ground, ripping up roots and seeds as he went. Puffs of white breath came steadily from his large and powerful snout. Born in the earlier breeding season, the bull was much larger and muscular than his targeted opponent on the top of the hill. He raised his head and bellowed, sending an exhaust of white smoke into the air.

The old bull recognized this smell; it was the stench of an intruder, a trespasser, and a nuisance. He had dealt with many before, young single bulls or even a small bachelor herd intruding on his herd, fancying taking over and becoming the dominant male, but all of the conflicts ended the same. Although he was never the strongest, the bull was always able out endure his opponent, but this time his weaker frame hesitated when the bellowing roar in the distance reached him. With his herd and standing at stake, he galloped down the hill roaring a fire of white flame to meet the challenger.

All life became still. The birds stopped their singing, taking refuge in their tall grass nests. The cows and calves stood motionless on top of the hill overlooking the valley. The two bulls stood far from each other, rubbing their horns in the dirty snow and pawing at the ground, daring one another to make the first move. The wise bull knew this tactic; if he were to make the first move it would have no impact because the other would be prepared for it, so he waited. The adolescent became impatient and angry; he pounded at full speed towards the older bull.
They hit each other with massive force, their skulls crashing together and bodies rippling from impact. The elder shook his head in confusion as his legs trembled underneath him. Another hit. He had never experienced this before, this fatigue, exhaustion, pain. Another hit. His legs started to buckle and he knew victory was far from him. Another hit. His cranium pounded; there was only one way out. The young bull gathered speed for another collision but he stopped short as his opponent bowed his head low, shaking it back and forth. The juvenile bull snorted, pounded his feet, and bellowed in return, but as his rival turned and stumbled away, he accepted the victory and strode towards his new herd.

The senior bison found protection in the tall grasses far from others. Head and heart pounding in broken rhythm, his enervated legs gave way to his immense mass. In the grasses below, a hatched locust warmed and spread its wings, taking flight in the warm and welcoming breeze.

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback