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Perspective: Where the buffalo roam

Bison blockade at Yellowstone National Park, 2022
Lonny Cain
Bison blockade at Yellowstone National Park, 2022

We just returned from a spectacular road trip through Yellowstone.

We missed the flooding and evacuations by a few days.

I was going to tell a funny story about our two encounters with bison, starting with that well-known refrain: "Oh, give me a home, where the buffalo roam." Then add, "Be careful what you ask for."

Lonny Cain

Twice we were stalled for an hour behind a herd of bison, roaming on and off the road. My left bumper was inches away from the horned and very large head of a bison. We both had stopped. I made my move and slid forward. He allowed it. I was laughing. My wife, not so much.

That's why millions flock to Yellowstone. To see wildlife, Old Faithful, and sniff steaming ponds where strange geologic digestion is going on underground.

Yellowstone took eons to form over a still-shifting underground tectonic plate. You try not to think about the volcano that stretches below.

Nature can slow the clock. Until heavy rainfall and rapid snowmelt change everything. Roads washed out and we all saw that house sliding into a rushing river.

A scientific report last year predicted Yellowstone would face flooding issues tied to climate changes.

Nature adapts and is always changing. We don't have a proper view of the slow-moving, bigger picture.

But then we see a house vanish into a river and begin to wonder and question.

What is happening to this land? This home where the buffalo roam.

I’m Lonny Cain … and that’s my Perspective.

Lonny Cain, a graduate of the journalism program at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, has been in the newspaper business for more than 45 years. He and his wife have three sons. They live in Ottawa, where he was managing editor of the local daily newspaper for 30 years, retiring in December 2014. He continues to be a columnist for The Times in Ottawa and is pursuing other writing projects.