A BOOK REVIEW
By the Side of the Buffalo Pasture Book Review
By Lisa Boblett
Kathleen Buerer’s memoir, By the Side of the Buffalo Pasture, evokes
yearning for meaning in life. This woman of courage left a materially
comfortable existence in pursuit of that which is intangible yet as
necessary as water. Clearly and compassionately, she describes her
experience of leaving her position with the Environmental Protection Agency
in Washington DC and the promise of a “fat retirement check” in search of
That something more begins to unfold after she reads a newspaper article
about the birth of a White Buffalo on a farm in Janesville, Wisconsin. She
plans to visit the farm during her next trip to the Midwest. When she gets
there, she feels drawn to Miracle, a “muddy beast” that in Native American
culture represents the fulfillment of an ancient prophesy.
While many in midlife might turn to materialism to avoid confronting the
mystery of life, Buerer chooses to delve deeper into life’s purpose and find
meaning in her own existence. She visits Miracle repeatedly over the
animal’s life span of 10 years and finds herself learning lessons from those
encounters. She becomes more sensitive to the environment. “Love the Earth”
is fixed in her subconscious. She becomes sharply aware of consumerism and
the carelessness of the modern age and examines what it means to be a woman,
a keeper of the earth, a mother.
Miracle, the White Buffalo, represents an era that has passed and the
author romanticizes a simpler time when herds of buffalo roamed the plains
offering their lives to sustain Native peoples. The captivating mythological
Legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman is beautifully retold and reminds us
of the wisdom in the search for the still voice within. Buerer poignantly
takes us back to the simplicity of the earth, the beauty of nature and the
search for those things that make life worth living - love, compassion and
honoring the planet and all of its inhabitants.
This book is an easy read. And well worth the journey.