The bear who shuffles over the hillsides filling himself
With berries until his tongue is purple (which remember, is a royal color)
The bear who circles the cabin, who will not steal the honey, who will not rifle the knapsack
Of the sleeping camper-the one who sits by himself by the river,
Who sings to himself the secret song ho one has ever heard-the bear
Who yawns with the cavernous mouth of a shaggy god-who, when he sees me
Is solidly silent and rises on the mass of his legs, disdainful and free
As anything on earth could ever be-this is the bear I want to see.
We came out of Africa and out of the wilderness, but we have not wavered from the gods of our fearful focus. Just like the snake a few days’ blog ago, we wake up when we see a bear. Having lived in Alaska, nothing brings me more to full attention over a campfire that is luring me into sleepiness, than this sentence “When I was on the trail and ran into a grizzly…” Truly though if we had lost limb, life, or love to snake, shark, or bear, would we truly prefer the wild one and not the beaten down old bear in a circus?
I remember the story of a young woman who was attached by coyotes a year ago in Eastern Canada. She had been out on her own when the pack attacked and killed her. Her mother, surely bereaved, did not blame the wild canines and did not want them hunted down for their actions. She believed that we always need wildness, and that wilderness tracts are not human’s home alone, but the home of many. We take our risks to see that which is free.
How much risk are you willing to take?
What risks are you willing to take?