When you think of Yellowstone, what do you think of? Maybe the geysers symbolizing all the pent-up strength of the beautiful land we call our country? Maybe you think of Yellowstone’s bison, the nation’s largest bison population on public land, the strong animals that might just represent everything that is hearty about the American spirit, exhibiting wild behavior at times yet deep down they are very calm animals, a beast that is about both the individual and the collective. They have been around since, it seems, the beginning of time. According to the National Park Service, “Yellowstone is the only place in the lower 48 states to have a continuously free-ranging bison population since prehistoric times.”
So, clearly Yellowstone’s identity is the same as the American bison. It is foolish to separate the two, which makes the following story even more powerful. Let’s just look at the title of this AOL article, “Badass bison survives being struck by lightning and has the scar to prove it.” Yes, back in 2013, a bison named Sparky was hit by lightning and although this occurred in the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge in Iowa, we can see that Sparky possesses the indomitable spirit of Yellowstone. Wildlife biologists did not expect Sparky to survive, but he defied all odds and persevered. Sparky is truly a hero or, as AOL puts it, “Sparky was standing up when his injuries were spotted, which was a good sign and further proof that bisons are tough animals. Not only are they the biggest land mammals in North America, weighing up 2,000 pounds, but some can leap about 6 feet in the air.”
It will take a lot more than power from the skies to take out a bison. It will take a lot more than that to take out the beauty of Yellowstone and all that it represents. Sparky’s story is an inspiring tale we should carry with us as we make our way through the New Year. Be strong like bison should be our New Year’s resolution.