|Come now if you are drawn to, to Journey
with Indigo via the Highlights of her Journal.
Buffalo Field Campaign West Yellowstone, Montana. February l9 ------ March 6, 2001
Fingers near frozen getting film into the tiny pocket camera; fumbling, dropping. Finally, a reassuring click that the film is in and ready for what ever offers itself to BE recorded.
It is my eleventh day with BFC in Montana. Physically I'm not doing too well. The left knee went out this morning. The knee brace helps. My throat is raw, sinuses running, aching body. All signs that "yes", Indigo has the bug-virus that has swept the BFC volunteers these past weeks. Then there is the left lower rib. It is BEtter. I can breath easier. The rib cartilage snapped the third day fumbling around learning how to navigate with snowshoes on. I'm tired, I'm sick, but I'm OK...The film is now in the camera. There are four buffalo 70-100 feet from me. I'm O---K.
Day of arrival
Plane trip all day. Arrived Bozeman 2:00 PM. Spent some hours in Bozeman with crew. Had lunch, went to Army and Navy store, candy shop, Xerox store. Two hours drive to BFC headquarters. Arrived late at night. I honestly can't rememBEr where I slept this night...
Tyler took the lead as we walked near a half-mile in snow. It was BEautiful. The large flakes of snow were falling. There were tracks of fox; mice and I think a ground squirrel. We don't have that type of squirrel in my area of Pa. This is the first day of morning patrol with Tyler, the volunteer coordinator. Up at 500 AM. Drive to one of the four patrol sites. Today it is Duck Pond. We are on site BEfore daybreak. The particular trail we were on was a narrow packed down snow trail traveled on four times a day by BFC patrols. The narrow trail reminded me of walking the log in the Pine Barrens. I fell off of that log so many times that I avoided going near it. So here I AM going full circle and walking a narrow snow path. This time when I slipped, I found myself with one foot on the solid snow path and the other foot and leg off the path up to my crotch in soft snow. Well now... how do ya get out of this??? Tyler was up ahead. I'm too stubborn to call for help.
I can't help to reflect that if animals have a sense of humor as some humans do, I'm sure those animals chuckled in amazement of the contortions this human went through, with a small pack on her back thrashing around to get upright. I kept grabbing for something to help pull myself upright and all I got was hands full of soft snow. Tyler turned around just as I uprighted myself. He said," are you OK?" "Yeah, sure." To myself--" My God, my first day out, will I make it for two weeks?"
Up ahead Tyler points and says, " There they are". Seven Buffalo, some lying down, some standing. Tears ran down my cheeks. We were about 60 yards from them. No need to move closer. Count noses, identify- female, bulls, calves and then monitor. Tyler called into BFC headquarters to give ID. Words over the radios are few. Keep as low profile as possible, the DOL may BE monitoring us.
I pulled my tobacco pouch out and offered prayers of Thanksgiving for these Magnificent Animals and prayers for their guidance of why they were doing what they were doing.
Tyler and I then returned to the car location and monitored a capture facility. This is where the home is of one of the DOL agents and one of the Buffalo capture facilities is also located here. Buffalo are herded into the capture facilities. From there they may go to the slaughterhouse to BE shot. This is the Duck Pond patrol site. White Trumpeter Swan flew into the pond as we watched. There are only about 300 White Trumpeter Swan left on Earth.
It was about this time that I realized that I could not use the radios. My hearing deficiency even with a hearing aide only picked up distortions from the radios. Now what?? I come all the way from Pa. to help the Buffalo. How can I BE a working part of a team with out hearing? So I ask GOD. "So what am I here for?" "WRITE"-- the answer was immediate --. My heart sang. The answer continued to come," Write, pass the word of what is happening here. Pass the word that the four legged Buffalo Nation is sacrificing their lives again. This time they are calling out to the Children of Light, to the Warriors of Light, to unite. Time is running out. Write my Child. Write of the l, 080 wild buffalo that were shot by Montana's De. Department of Livestock in l996 & 1997. Write that the hides and heads were taken and the bodies were left to lie. That the coyotes and the ravens had a feast. Write that one third of the wild Buffalo were shot with claims that they pass brucellosis on to white mans cattle. Write that that claim has no founding or proof to this day. Write of other wild life too. Write that the government states in volumes of statement on wildlife that the re-introduced wolves in Yellowstone and the natural grizzly BEar are considered UN-ESSENTIAL to the ecosystem." I ask you, as I write this - "Is nothing SACRED ???" "Write my Child, write your heart out. Pass the word- the EMPOWERED WORD - that is why I have called you here to BFC in Montana, Write..."
I spoke to Tyler of my problem of not BEing able to use the radios and that instead I would write of what my experience here was with the Buffalo and The BFC. Tyler said" no problem, I would BE a third party on patrols".
Also I spoke to Tyler of my feeling that the Buffalo know exactly what they are doing. They come out of the Yellowstone Park repeatedly and come close to BEing annihilated. This tragedy has called together and united Children of Light from all over the world. Tyler understood what I was saying.
I felt like I had come home to my people. I could BE myself. It was so good to have Soul-Mind company again.
Five hours after Tyler and I arrived at the Duck Pond site, our relief patrol came. They would stay until sunset.
I slept in Siberia that night. One of many bunks in a room with no heat. Some food is stored in this room; it is a natural refrigerator or freezer. Anyhow, sleeping in SiBEria was my choice. I sleep without heat at home. I was prepared with sleeping bag-20 minus degrees and a down quilt. There was more blankets , etc., if needed.
Next patrol was at Horse Butte. This is an over night stay in a tipi. Take snow shoes or cross-country skis. Cookie, Drazil, Piper and myself. We arrived at Horse Butt at noon, relieving that crew on duty.
It was a BEautiful day. There were four Buffalo out of the park. Cookie took me for a walk to buff sites where one had swung its huge head and pushed snow aside to get to the grasses. You could see their BEard and horn tracks from the full front head impression in the snow. I took Pictures. ---This is Awesome!!!
One Buffalo had walked on the front porch at the house where we had the tipi at. The Buff went in one entrance of the porch and walked out the other end. I drew and measured etc., the tracks. White tail deer and Buffalo have that same front-rear dew claw track. One angled one round.
Cookie took me to frozen Hebgan Lake. When frozen, the wolf packs cross the lake from 50 miles away. Two weeks BEfore I arrived at BFC, a volunteer saw tracks of a wolf pack on the edge of the lake. He said it looked like they had ceremony and council. He slept at that location along the lake a few nights, I'm told. When Gumby wrote me, he said "wolves 45 feet away from him when on patrol".
Going on the walk today with Cookie, I snapped cartilage in my left lower rib. Snowshoes. Did ya ever work at getting up from stepping one snowshoe over the other and attempt to move forward in four feet of snow? "Trust me", "straddle wide". I'm laughing as I write this...
When the sun went down and after we ate our supper, a deck of cards appeared on the scene. The kerosene lamp was lit. A table-bunk was used to sit on. The cards were dealt. "Indigo, want in on five card stud"? "No, Ill watch". (Actually, I use to BE pretty lucky at cards). This time I watched as the three ante-upped from their ante-up caches. The ante-up caches were interesting. There were headphones (with out batteries), popper firecrackers, (I don't know if they were dead or not), worn out vitamin pills, half pack of matches, sticks of gum. Anything that was forgotten by previous crews and left lying around was game for the ante-up cache. Cookie held up a long strip of aluminum foil packets, (now understand I'm 65 years old and from another generation and long over the hill). - I said, " what are they"? Cookie says " condoms", as he tore off three of the packets and tossed them into the ante-up pile. --Now, I wonder if I had played, what would I have done with winning three condoms?? I could always trade them in for some of the other ante-up useless stuff--mayBE the headphones with no batteries don't hear anyhow. I would think I got a bargain.
This night I slept outside. Near froze to death until I got all the air spaces tucked in. It was worth it. There were shooting stars in the crystal clear sky.
Next morning there was one Buffalo up in the field about 200 yards. Three were in the woods. BEautiful sunny day.
Later in the morning the four of us were outside on the lane by the tipi. This is private property that we have permission to stay on in the tipi. A DOL agent came snow plowing the driveway, which didn't need plowing. He took our picture. I didn't really know what was going on. Now I know as I re-write this Journal. There is a war going on with the BFC and Montana's Department of Livestock. Looks like I'm on record of keeping company with BFC activist. At this point I'm still naïve. I'm feeling my space BEing trespassed upon. I don't like it. Thank You Scout Protector.
The relief crew came around noon.
It was a good two days at Horse Butte-- that is where the Bald Eagle sanctuary is-. It was also good to BE back at headquarters. Lunch is always good. Supper is always BEtter. Good volunteer cooks, Erika and Locust. Their relief crew cooks are good too.
Other than meals tasting good, meal times are also interesting. If you are claustrophobic, spend one week at BFC and you will BE cured. I'm told that there had BEen 60 volunteers at one time serving with BFC. I found it interesting with 30 some sisters and brothers finding a spot to sit with their plate. It is a good feeling time of day. The every night meeting is held as those days patrols give in detail of what, when, where, how and who. All is recorded. There is also given speaking room at this time for any one to share their personal interest. This is a good time of day. We are tired, hungry and THANKFUL. Then there are the multi-bunks in the living -eating area also. There is a wood stove as the main source of heat. Clothes and boots are usually hung and stacked at the heat perimeters. There is one bathroom with a washer and one shower. There are two out-houses. Close quarters with so many people is no problem if you see it as a Cosmic Dance.
Morning patrol with Piper and Jarad to North Madison. In my mind I was picking at the young ones as they moved fast way up ahead to get to the site. Gads, I would really have to know and aura-signature my tracks to back track my self if I had to. I've got to ID their tracks too so I don't get lost. There are lots of tracks from lots of crews and some from other people in the woods. We all three did arrive on site.
I'm unhappy that they left me BEhind to find my way. I'll go sit by myself. About an hour later after my (feel sorry for myself attitude) I went near where they were by the fire. I sat off to the side about 30 feet. Ever so quiet, a Bald Eagle flew eye level about 30 feet in front of me heading, I think, to the Eagle sanctuary at Horse Butt. I preened my feathers. They didn't see the Eagle - humph. Eventually I joined them at the fire. Their conversation turned to "the three moose". I said," what moose?" Jarad says " the three moose down the bank when you were out there somewhere". Jarad showed me on the video the three moose. " I'm laughing now as I write this". Then Jarad said with glee and excitement, "Did ya see the Bald Eagle go by Indigo?" Hmmmm, humble pie, eat it Indigo. These kids are in tune.
The sighting of the Bald Eagle and the three moose were recorded on the forms that is carried on all patrols. This evidence is used in court if need BE for the survival of these species.
A DOL agent was also video taped showing his official patches on his jacket and also his license numBEr of his snow mobile as he drove up to and stopped at our fire. He took my picture, I took his and I wished him a "good day". This ticked me off. What right does he have to take my picture? Later at the night meeting, I talked about using mind power to destroy film. Seventeen people were interested in experimenting. Tomorrow night we would use candle flames to learn how to fire BEnd. Once they know that they can do this, even a little, then they can build on that knowledge and head to destroy film. I also passed this info along of a backlash using negative mind power. Destroy film, your own image, if nothing else, but if one ventures to freeze an ignition switch on a snowmobile back in the woods. The person that has to walk out may get a heart attack. You, as the responsible person freezing the switch, doing so as a group or individually will pay for that persons life or health for the rest of your life or lives. My people knew exactly what the message was. You must use discernment. Discernment is the science of wisdom, of knowing...
I stayed at headquarters today. I'm tired and I want to write. I'll attend tonight's meeting. I did, wasn't hungry, no supper, went right to BEd.
I'm with back up crew today. Jarad and Miranda. We got a call. Buffalo are crossing the main highway. When we got there at the crossing, the Buffalo had already headed west following the Madison River. I went off to the east and sat tight in case other Buffalo ventured by. Miranda snow shoed the South Madison past the BEaver dam. Jarad manned the van. When I came out to the highway much later. The van was 2-3 hundred yards up the highway. The little traffic that there was, was slowing down. It was dusk, headlights were on. You could barely see him, a bull Buffalo upon the ridge, 40 yards or so, sweeping his head in the snow for grasses. We stayed until complete sunset. We missed the town meeting that night. I'm the one to blame. I was too tired.
I stayed at headquarters. By now I have a scratchy throat. I'm up early though. BEautiful sunrise. Clear day. I take a walk down the lane. There are elk tracks on the frozen lane. Clear tracks. My first elk. I draw, measure and photo. Again the dewclaws show the slant and round. I spend the day writing and interview the volunteers. I get them coming and going. Catch them when I can. They search me out if I had missed them. They want to BE heard. I LOVE these people.
I stay at headquarters again. I'm sick. So are most of the others here. As I set on the front porch and look out on to the BEautiful mountains, I write. Also, I wonder, "Am I to move here?" " No, I probable couldn't stand the cold". Minus 20 to 40 degrees BElow zero. I'm not sure I want to experience minus 40 degrees BElow zero. It is BEautiful here though.
I go to South Madison with the crew. This is along the Madison River. There are Buff tracks, but no Buffs. Their hair evidence is hanging under trees along the banks of the river. When the mist from the river rises in the morning it freezes into crystals on the trees and shrubs. The hair from the 6-foot high Buffalo hump gets hooked into the pine needles and branches as they pass underneath. The mist freezes on the hairs. You can walk along collecting Buff hairs. Buff hair medicine. Some volunteers make bracelets out of the hair. I reversed wrapped mine. It is BEautiful to see these hundreds of curly crystal hairs hanging from under the tree branches. Of course you are in constant wide-angle vision. The Buff that BElongs to the hair may BE around the next willow bush. One gal found a White Trumpeter Swan feather on a gravel bar by the river. What a BEautiful gift for her from the Creator. Also as a side note. The BEaver caretaker the willow bushes. They add the willow clippings to their food supply in their dam homes. The willow bushes look like a pruning shear angled off the saplings. Not so. It's BEaver, and clean as a whistle.
I'm tired and sick. I stayed at headquarters. The chimneys were soot clogged. They had to BE cleaned. No fire. I'm cold. I go to BEd to keep warm. Neils Jenson from Clancy, Montana comes to visit. God Bless Him.
At the meeting tonight the crews are short one for South Madison tomorrow morning. "Indigo, will you go with Jen on morning crew?" South Madison is my favorite site. - "Yes". I remind Jen that I can not use the radio. No problem. Sick or not, Indigo is a Happy Camper.
Jen and I are out taking the river trail to the site. She is lead. All of a sudden, dead stop and she freezes. She slowly holds up her hand -- four Buffalo over the bank off of the trail about 100 feet give or take their position. Two are lying down. We stand tight. Jen radios in. It is Cold. Jen shuffles back and forth on a 6 - 8 foot path to keep her feet warm. Jen has BEen sick from the bug-virus too. Her circulation isn't at its BEst. I felt in good shape. I found a used, left BEhind by a volunteer, pair of 70% wool liners that fit my Sorrel boots the second day that I was at BFC. Thank GOD, or my feet would BE freezing too.
The Buffalo know we are there of course. They pay us no mind. Eventually they are all standing and moving slowly to graze grasses under the snow. This took about an hour or more.
One Buffalo comes up the bank about 60 feet away from me. I freeze. It looked straight at me. The others had too but only in a passing recognition that some one was there. This one Buffalo looked at me straight on and Right Through Me. I was humbled and honored as the tears ran down my cheeks. That one Buffalo chose to speak its silent language with its eyes looking right through me saying, " We Are One." The primitive verbal human language has no word for the Sacred Language of the Eyes.
I took a photo of this Buffalo BEfore it turned and joined the other three heading up the river. When the film came back, I couldn't find the Buffalo. But there is a mist of Spirit that literally took over the whole photo. I don't say anything about this to my friends when they look at this photo. Some have called my attention to the mist and its shape.
Then Jen got a call. Buffalo crossing the highway. There are about forty snowmobiles coming parallel the highway. Mike's crew needs help directing traffic. By the time we got to the highway the Buffalo had crossed unharmed. One seemed to BE dazed. It looked like Mike was standing 5-10 feet away from him. It was decided he was OK. We all backed away. We monitored until the relief crew came.
I stayed at headquarters again. Tracked elk rested and wrote.
My last day to patrol. My heart drew me to South Madison again. Stephanie and Miranda were the crew. When we got to the site there were l3 Buffalo together in the field along the river. A possible l4th BEhind the bushes. But then it may have joined the herd to make l3????
I tracked from where the possible l4th bull was. It did head toward the herd. The l3 were looking at me. I was wide angle visioned and calm. The tracks headed to the herd. About 70 feet away I felt to stop. The Buffs language was saying, "there is no need to come closer." I backtracked and joined the gals at the fire for a few moments. They were settled in with a good book. I knew this was my last day so I went to the riverbank to watch for wild duck. MayBE see an Eagle or a swan. What I saw was a Buffalo standing at the edge of the river. It slowly went into the river and swam to the north side. I called to the girls of the swimming Buffalo. By the time they got to my location with the video camera, there were other Buffalo collecting under the trees along the bank. Some slowly came toward us. We gave them ground backing up a little at a time. All the while Stephanie is videoing, Miranda is using binoculars and counting noses. I AM too, but also scanning wide-angle vision, 360 degrees. Where is that l4th Buff?? It took 45 minutes to an hour for the l3 Buffalo to cross the river. The depth of the river had to BE 7 feet deep at places. You could see the Buffs hump and head and the power of motion through the water as they moved to the North Side.
Finally, the l3th Buffalo who kept coming toward us stopped. I had a guarded feeling of this Buff. I wasn't sure what he was going to do. If he charged I would have to stay put. I can't run even if there was a flat ground place to run on. BEing in the snow there was no way I could move out of the way if this one decided to charge. A White Light Bubble around me and the Faith and BElief that I was going to BE OK was what I had as a shield. This Buff stood ground and stared at us. I heard it say, "If your race eliminates the last of my kind, -A-GREAT-PRICE-WILL-HAVE -TO-BE-PAID-... Then it slowly turned, entered and swam the river to join his people on the opposite bank.
Mike and Locust were on the north ridge counting Buff noses as we were doing the same on the south. The Buffalo came down stream until late noon. That is where we left them when our relief patrol came. Mike counted l4 Buffalo. All bulls.
That night at the meeting I called attention to tunnel vision using video cameras and binoculars. There was a l4th Buff and he was going to join his people. He may have come toward our backs to join the herd to swim the river. BE aware of all directions, including up and down. A shadow may tell you a story or a bird in a tree giving a warning. All directions, including up and down.
This day I stayed at headquarters and went into West Yellowstone with Summer and Valerie. They did their wash. I did my Xeroxing. Back at headquarters it took me all day to wrap up my gear and to wrap up the last of the volunteer interviews. At this last nights meeting for me I handed out Tracker class schedules to those that had interest and then posted the same info on the bulletin board.
PO Box 957, West Yellowstone, MT 59758.