According to Nebraska pioneer folklore, to cure any illness in cattle, hang bittersweet around the animals’ neck.
On a hike in a nature preserve, after I see a penned-in herd of buffalo grazing lazily in a greened-over pond, I find a strand of bittersweet growing wild along the trail. I stop and look up. It really is spears of pink light here chucked down from heaven. The buffalo snort, indifferent to my presence. A Cooper’s hawk circles above, hungry for field mice and toads, clearing the path ahead. I put a wad of the bittersweet in my front pocket and carry on. It’s still too early to see if it’ll make any difference at all.