I stepped out into a crisp July day at about 7:49 a.m. this morning and was met with the sound of laughter. Or was it crying? Nope, definitely laugh…maybe someone was crying. It was coming from the naturalists’ storage shed, and there were a couple cars parked out front, so I went to investigate.
“Joe?” I asked warily as I came upon the shed. It sounded like she had her leg caught under a fallen piece of equipment and was screaming.
Then there was riotous laughter.
Two of the park’s naturalists, Joe (also known as Joe-Joe) and Melissa emerged from the shed looking like they’d been dipped in honey and then rolled around in massive amounts of mangy looking feathers. It wasn’t far from the truth – while looking for supplies for an educational canoeing program, they had come across a couple of sweatshirts that someone had fashioned into bird costumes. The dark cloth had been extended below the arms to create wings and large feathers had been attached. The hoods even sported two giant white fluffy balls that represented some of the weirdest bird eyes I’ve ever seen, but the whole getup was pretty brilliant in my opinion.
But after a time in the shed, the costumes were beginning to look frayed and worn. So, the two goofy naturalists had put them on and were dancing wildly around the storage shed singing some disco-era tune. It was a pretty funny sight and put me in a happy mood as I walked to work.
Fast forward about an hour. Someone posted an Instagram photo of the park to our Twitter account, so I attempted to check it out and see if it was re-tweetable. The page slowly loaded and the photo I was looking for was strangely MIA, but another buffalo picture loaded instead. It was taken and uploaded at about 8 a.m. by one of the girls who lives in the dorms. It read:
sarah89765: Good morning!!! Buffalo love our volleyball court. #custerstatepark #buffalo
The photo showed a large hulking buffalo lounging in the sand of our volleyball court. This wouldn’t be anything unusual except for the fact that I had gone outside and walked right by that spot and not even noticed him. Had the laughter and the bird costumes really been that distracting?
How does one not notice a giant brown life form sitting mere yards away from them? I don’t know – maybe I was still technically asleep or maybe I just missed him and he wasn’t even there. All I know is that from now on, I’m looking both ways before leaving the dorms.