First, at a distance, grazing peacefully on the snow-covered plain, the herd paid no attention to the visitor leaning his lens against the fence post and on the metal wire.
Then, one by one, and two by two, they walked on over, watching the curious bystanders.
In minutes, they were so close that not even just one of the magnificent bisons would fit whole in the frame.
For minutes that seemed like hours, we watched each other, with a mix of curiosity and caution, breath condensing from our nostrils in the cold air, dissipating little clouds.
Too soon, it seemed, they wandered over a little farther downfield to sample the cold grass hiding beneath the unspoiled layer of fresh snow, leaving the few spectators speechless on the other side of a fence that seemed a rather futile barrier.
Candidly, the man who had stood quietly beside me turned and said: “You’re the bison whisperer.”
A shrug of my shoulders my only reply. We both walked away slowly, a grin on our face. Nothing more needed to be said.