Cody, WY

In Cody, Wyoming We Drive Until We See The First Buffalo

Carol Lennox

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My friend Michelle Milner, who lives in Cody, Wyoming, often gets in her truck and just drives until the she the first buffalo. Sometimes this happens in thirty minutes, sometimes much longer, and sometimes nearly right away. Cody, Wyoming looks and feels like the old west, with western style store fronts, mountains in the background, rushing creeks that flow through town, and sky that goes on forever. The entire state of Wyoming is wide open spaces, sparsely populated towns like Cody, and a wealth of wildlife. My friend is an artist and a jeweler who need those wide open spaces to be inspired and reinvigorated. Maybe you do too. I certainly did when I visited.
My time in Wyoming with Michelle reminded me of how going places with no agenda can be liberating and inspiring. Driving "until we see the first buffalo," is a perfect metaphor for going with the flow of life and creation. The limitlessness of Wyoming makes that possible.
How many of us follow the road with little concern for where it takes us, either metaphorially or literally? How often do we jump in the car and take off with no real destination in mind? Or is your life so planned that such spontaneity would be too inconvienient, even terryfying? There are people who need a plan to feel safe. I understand that. Then there are those, like me, who drive until the we see the first buffalo.
I'm not suggesting planners throw all caution to the wind and set out willy-nilly. I'm suggesting that planners can learn to enjoy freedom within their necessary structure. Wyoming provides for that. Check out all the things to do and see in Cody, Wyoming on their https://www.codychamber.org. Also look into Yellowstone National Park at https://www.codyyellowstone.org. Cody, Wyoming provides both the structure to experience all the buffalo and more, and the freedom to drive and seek them out. .
We all need our own “first buffalo,” Even after we leave a place like Cody, Wyoming and go back home. When I moved to Austin, Texas, seven years ago, I was constantly getting lost. Austin is a confusing town that began small, and has grown exponentially. The highways, which all loop North to South, keeping the same names, are sometimes as crowded as L.A. freeways pre-pandemic, and now again as the pandemic eases.
In order to drive until you reach the first buffalo, you have to be paying attention to the sides of the road. You have to be completely in the moment, or you will miss it. If you start thinking of something else, or talking to yourself about other things, you will miss it. You'll roll right by the first buffalo.
In my martial art of Aikido, we say, “Expect Nothing. Be Ready for Anything.” This doesn’t mean to live in fear. It doesn’t mean to constantly look over our shoulders. I means to develop an ongoing state of calm, and a quiet mind, so that when something does come along or happen, we can embrace it or deal with it with fresh eyes and open arms.
The majority of the time, these will be beautiful opportunities we might have missed otherwise while anticipating other, usually negative, things. Although, when we anticipate positive things, like seeing the first buffalo, we also DO see other wildlife, and mountains, and plains, and rushing water. As long as we are in the moment and paying attention. Not to our inner mental turmoil, but to the beauty around us, to the energy of connections with people and animals, to the quiet, to the unexpected, in Cody, Wyoming or anywhere you happen to be.

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My purpose is to inspire and inform. You can read more by me on Medium.com/@carollennox, and on the Good Men Project. I've had a lifetime of valuable experiences, and I want to share the lessons I've learned readily, or been forced to learn. I'm a psychotherapist, a hypnotherapist, a mother to my amazing son, Blake Scott, whom I write about often. I also write about race, equality, social justice, sex, government, and Mindfulness, not in that order.

Austin, TX
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