In the time after, the buffalo come home. At first only a few, shaking snow off their shoulders as they pass from mountain to plain. Big bulls sweep away snowpack to the soft grass beneath; big cows attend to and protect their young. The young themselves delight, like the young everywhere, in the newness of everything they see, smell, taste, touch, and feel.
Wolves follow the buffalo, as do mallards, gadwalls, blue-winged teal, northern shovelers, northern pintails, redheads, canvasbacks, and tundra swans. Prairie dogs come home, bringing with them the rain, and bringing with them ferrets, foxes, hawks, eagles, snakes, and badgers. With all of these come meadowlarks and red-winged blackbirds. With all of these come the tall and short grasses. With these come the prairies.