Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The Bear and Me
In a dream a husband, friend, and I are working in the woods. We're clearing debris under the forest canopy piling branches and leaves into large mounds. As it happened all three of us were close to one of the mounds about the same time. The friend reached the mound first and then another person approached from the opposite direction. But I noticed the other person was not a person at all; it was a large black bear. I tried to warn the friend but I was too late. The bear stood upright showing his enormous size and the friend suddenly disappeared.
Then the bear chased the husband off through the trees. As they ran out-of-sight, I felt a bit of relief for my safety. But after a short while I heard the bear coming back, crashing through the woods. Knowing I couldn't outrun the bear I decided to climb a tree. I ascended the tree wrapping my arms and legs around the rough bark. I climbed up little by little like an inch worm. I went as high as I could and remained quiet; I was sure the bear was looking for me.
Below I saw the bear approaching looking from side to side. He was looking through the trees and around the mounds scattered about. Just when I thought the bear would pass me by, the bear glanced up and stopped short. The bear quickened it's pace and chose to climb a tree about three feet from the tree I had climbed. The bear ascended it's tree quickly almost to my level. I thought about climbing down and trying to make a run for it but I knew the idea was futile. I gathered my courage and decided all I could do was face the bear.
The bear climbed even higher, till his head was level with mine. I knew the bear could reach out and easily grab me. I saw long claws on the ends of his paws. I imagined being torn apart and eaten. I looked into the eyes of the bear and the bear looked into mine. Immobile with fear, my life passed before my eyes. Amazingly the bear began speaking to me. The bear spoke to me in words I could understand. At first I didn't believe my ears; I clung to the tree mesmerized.
After a while I began speaking to the bear in words he could understand. We spoke to each other for a very long time. Years of hope and fears passed between us and slowly we began to know each other. Amazingly, the bear and I became fast friends high in the tree sharing our thoughts and desires. I wondered how such an unlikely pair could become friends. But somehow the friendship didn't seem strange, it seemed wonderful, believable, and natural to me.
After exchanging a lifetime of thoughts between us, the bear and I descended our trees and we parted as friends. We went back to our lives but I was sure we'd meet again. As I walked away I glanced back with a tiny doubt in my mind, wondering if we met again, we'd meet as friends. Having experienced all I had in my life, that small doubt lingered in me. As I walked along I wondered if a small doubt lingered in my new friend the bear.
© Linda Starr, text and image