It was just one of those mornings.
“Do not – I repeat – do not get too close, Iza,” says Peter with that all-knowing look of my devious side.
“Of course,” I retort.
“I’m not fucking around, you don’t want to mess with them.”
Ignoring him completely, I bounded towards the rickety fence along the highway just outside of Zion National Park. Peter was busy in the van scooping muesli into our kefir cups and making coffee.
There was only about 10ft of tall grass to the fence and another 20ft to a passing herd of American bison, also known as buffalo. Massive, beastly, grunting and huffing – their large, rounded, fur-covered humps, bold against the backdrop of new morning sun peaking over the plains. It had to be captured.
I had to get closer.
I was wearing flip flops – filthy flip flops, at that. I flipped and flopped my way through the tall grass, camera dangling from a strap around my neck, inching closer and closer to the fence.
“Je-sus CHRIST. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.”
I was just getting to the perfect place to snap a picture, and thank god I looked down one more time. Blank lifeless eyes of a buck. It was out of sight from the road, but looked like it had been killed that morning.
It was “looking” right up at me. I could have stepped right on it. Stumbling and fumbling backwards, I ditched that last perfect picture and started running back towards the van. Peter popped his perfect bald head out of the side door of the van, calling me in like a child at supper time.
When I finally caught my breath, I told him what happened. All he could do was throw his head back and laugh. I laughed at myself – maybe I should listen more often.
We sat on on the step of the sliding door looking out at the buffalo, who were probably laughing, too. Sitting close and enjoying the cool air and our warm coffee, we dove into our breakfast. Immediately, our nostrils turned up as we choked down the first bite. Wide-eyed and mouths puckered we just looked at each other.
The kefir had gone bad.