April 25th, 2011

I guess I’m kind of a cynic, but for all the years that I’ve been hearing that there are buffalo in Golden Gate Park, I’ve always thought it was an urban legend. I never bothered to look it up and I never tried to investigate. No one I heard it from ever talked about having seen them, they just said that they were there, and I was a salty dog and scoffed at their naivete. Imagine my surprise, then, yesterday, when I came across a whole field of buffalo at the far end of the park!

To be fair, what I had imagined that all those people were reporting for all those years was that wild buffalo were roaming through the park, like the wild boar that really, truly do wander, and sometimes charge, through Berlin. What it turns out is that there are a handful of buffalo that live in a not stifling, though not overly expansive, pen at the ocean end of Golden Gate Park.

What is this a recommendation for, though? The buffalo are grand and sad, remarkable and irrelevant, and not worth a full day’s excursion. And I promise that this is not some trite warning against cynicism. Me, I was reminded how of rewarding it can be to go below the surface, and maybe that’s a good reminder for all you travelers too. Perhaps it’s better to acknowledge that you can’t see everything and so to choose, instead, to see all of any one thing. And Golden Gate Park isn’t a bad place to start.

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