I heard a great story on Iowa Public Radio last week about the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge, a restored prairie of over 8600 acres located just east of Des Moines.  It’s home to a herd of about 70 American bison, aka “buffalo.”

The reporter told how once a year, the bison are rounded up for genetic testing, primarily to prevent inbreeding. One man’s job is to pull hairs from their tails, so they can capture the DNA from the follicles.

A naturalist also explained how the program is committed to letting Mother Nature take her course as much as possible when it comes to bison management. Even in severe winters, they are left to scratch and forage through thick snow and ice instead of getting a few hay bales.  This is to ensure that they don’t lose the ability to find their food and digest the tough prairie grasses in future generations.

They also talked about a nine year old bull named Sparky.  He had the misfortune of getting hit by lightning last July, a bolt searing through his hump and scorching much of his hide.  He still roams the prairie, never having received any veterinary treatment.

Sometimes, life also zaps us with lighting.  Jarring health news…a relative’s death…losing a job…

If we hear about this happening to somebody we know, we’re there for them right away with a heartfelt hug, a teary-eyed prayer, and a shoulder to cry on.  But then we turn around and take on these burdens alone when they happen to us.  We rationalize that we don’t want to be a bother or upset someone or waste their time or ruin their night.

We’re big boys.  And big boys don’t cry.

Although others want to help us, we think we can just suck it up. 

So we take the hit.  Scar up our soul.

And while we have a choice in the matter–and he doesn’t–we’re volunteering to be…


Profile of an American bison at Fontana Park, Hazleton Iowa.

An American bison at Fontana Park, Hazleton Iowa.

bisonprofile (2)

(Here’s a link to the story: )

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sparky

  1. Aimes says:

    That is true. I am willing to take on many of my family’s and friend’s hurt for them and help them with whatever they need. But I *need* to be strong. The hug will “break” me to pieces and tears.

  2. timggrover says:

    The part I didn’t include in this story was what happened to me the day I wrote it. I had gotten an email at 3:30 Friday afternoon that I wasn’t getting a job I had applied for. I had inside connections, interviewed well, did all the right things, etc. My wife and daughters had left earlier that day for a “girls weekend” to see Princess Diana’s wedding dress in Davenport, 3 hours away. I didn’t want to call her and put a damper on their weekend. So yeah, I was Sparky…just hung onto it when there were friends i could’ve called to console me. (I did go for a kick-ass bike ride, which helped).
    I hope you find someone you can share your hurts with; it sounds like you really need that. Far too often we do a disservice to others by not allowing them inside us to be God’s servant and help us through stuff; we selfishly hang onto our hurts and slowly self-destruct. My prayers are with you, and hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Leave a Reply to timggrover Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s