“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. … There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
Golden fingers caress the eastern sky, drawing back the darkness and the sense of mystery that blankets this ethereal landscape. The playing of light and shadows across the mountain peaks seems to evoke a spiritual presence. It is the dawning of a new day in the Lamar Valley, a magical landscape that must be felt, as words fail to describe the sublime sense of serenity this wild landscape evokes.
Time spent at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch, immersing oneself in nature, can be soul-cleansing. It opens the senses more fully, forces us to move “in the moment”. Nothing here feels commonplace, from the robin who sings her melodious morning song perched on a rustic cabin, to the lyrical gurgling of the swollen stream that rushes past the ranch, to the tiny barn swallows perfecting their aerial dance above. Everything is observed through a microcosm of acute clarity.
The air smells like sage, sunshine, and fecund earth. Winter snow melt and spring rains provide Lamar a cool, deep drink, resulting in a verdant valley. Springtime heralds the arrival of the “red dogs”, bison calves cavorting in the supple green grasses, never far from mom when they feel the need to suckle. The swollen streams that rush through the valley in the spring slow to a languid crawl in summer and bison graze placidly along the valley floor as far as the eye can see. As the lushness of spring surrenders to the warming of late summer, snorts and bellowing grunts carry over the breeze, broadcasting the “rut”, the bison’s mating season, when bull dominance ranking is challenged.
Beyond the human sight, wolf, grizzly, and coyote roam the shadows of the forest edges, awaiting that perfect moment when they are called to action, with the chance to provide a needed meal for their hungry families. A familiar wolf pack, the Junction Butte pack, can often be seen hunting in the valley, reminding us of the disquieting nature that is the circle of life in the wild. There is a poetic justice to knowing that these predators are part of the fabric of this lush landscape.
One can feel the sense of timelessness here in the Lamar Valley. As the sun sinks lower into the western sky, the trumpeting call of the sandhill cranes wafts across the deepening shadows. The majestic mountains looming over the valley floor reflect the geologic clashing of the forces of nature, and remind us of the intimate connection we all have with the wilderness, no matter our place in life. To lose any part of these untrammeled wild spaces would mean a loss of part of our humanity.
The Lamar Buffalo Ranch is an intrinsic thread woven into the Yellowstone history. A visit to the park would be incomplete without experiencing the magic of the Lamar Valley.