What I’m not going to write is one more piece on love and loss and the importance of keeping our eyes on the silver lining. We’ve had so much of that here on this blog, because my husband and I have had so much of it in real life. It’s all a worthy lesson, no doubt; but today we just need to rest a bit in a new reality here at the farm. I am writing to ask you for your best loving energy. Your prayers, good vibrations, kind words, or just you quietly nodding head as you read. Handsome and I will appreciate your embrace from a distance.
Just the facts, ma’am.
Today we are saying goodbye to a beloved farm-ily member, Chunk-hi the buffalo. Our bottle baby-turned cuddle bug for nearly seven years, our cookie-loving, face-scratch-begging, engine-racing, tractor-tire flipping behemoth is moving on to his next life chapter. We are caught in that all too familiar brackish water where salty tears mix with fresh starts and past meets future face to face.
Chunk is alive and well, don’t worry, just going to live on another ranch. Thankfully, that ranch is here in Oklahoma and owned by the parents of some friends of ours, so it’s possible we can go visit Chunk in his new digs. We could see his new girlfriend. Maybe next year meet his little golden calves. (We could become bison grandparents!!) This ranch happens to be in Stratford, so we can also stock up on peaches when they’re in season.
Those are all silver linings, Marie, stop.
This decision is not one at which we’ve arrived easily, and the factors have been many and building in intensity. During angry, bitter moments we find people to blame (new neighbors usually, the Turnpike Authority also). In tender moments we see that maybe this was always meant to happen, eventually. Our bison dreams way back in 2009 were big, and life has taken so many unexpected twists and turns since then. Whatever you believe about fate and bad luck, these last six and three-quarter years have just evaporated with our sweet buff. He quickly became part of our farm-ily during those early summer bottle feedings. He has etched himself into our identity at the Lazy W (how many children have visited to feed him cookies and scruff his wooly face?). He will always of course own a slice of our hearts.
I promised not to wax too poetic about this. It’s just such an emotional thing.
Chunk is being picked up today around Noon, and it will be only his second time in a trailer. He will be arriving at only the third place he has ever seen on this beautiful earth, and besides his mother (moments before she was hunted, I feel the need to point that out), he will soon meet his first adult American Bison. Word on the prairie is she’s quite a looker and feeling amorous.
We are not heart broken, exactly. We are heart-aching. We know this is the responsible thing to do and that Chunk-hi will be safer (uninvited attention from passersby on our road has been a huge problem this year), and we even believe he will find a whole new level of happiness in his new life. Of course that last part stings a bit, but gosh. We have survived a child leaving the nest and finding happiness. We’ll survive this too.
It’s all for the best.
So please keep us in your happy thoughts, and for sure keep Chunk-hi in your happy thoughts. Hope for him wide, green pastures, abundant fresh water, excellent romantic companions, and just enough human interaction to help him remember us fondly. Believe in these hopes and we will too, and no doubt he will be okay.
To Robbie and your family, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Knowing that good people love Chunk is such a comfort. We reminisced this morning that it was Robbie who helped us feed Chunk grass clippings when we were neighbors. It was Robbie who held off a dog attack before Chunk had horns to defend himself. And it has been Robbie all along who watched Chunk grow just as both our families’ kids were growing. As poetic full circles go, this is a lovely one.
Friends of the Lazy W, if you have ever visited our farm and shown love to our buff, thank you too. Thank you so much. Thank you for your cookie generosity, your inquisitiveness, your sense of caution and bravado. We have enjoyed it all. We would really love it if you took a moment to share a Chunk-hi memory with us.
We love you Chunk! We already miss you, sweet boy.
Oh give me a home
Where the buffalo roam..