just between bears

I had a dream the other night that has stuck with me.  One that keeps tumbling in my mind giving me pause several times a day.  In an effort to move on, I feel I must expel it somehow, so I’ll try to explain.

Due to an increase in hiking in the woods as of late, I have been observing my own vulnerability.  No longer am I tucked in my cushy waves of green leaves, protected from viewing the unknown woods beyond.  The woods are eerily quiet with wildlife taking cover from the impending cold.  As I walk I see the structure of the land, the curves and dips, the deep drop offs and piles of fallen trees draped about like some kind of post-war scene.  It’s a little unsettling at times, especially as I can see so much further, especially when I think of bears.  I know, I know. . they are more afraid of me than I am of them.  Whatever, I’m still scared. 

I just finished a fabulous, side-splitting read, A Walk in the Woods, by hilarious Bill Bryson.  Tears of laughter I tell you.  Though the things that spring to mind whilst I trompe through the woods are his many fearful recollections of bear horror stories he read before he began his hike on the Appalachian Trail. 

We recently spent a lovely four days in the Porcupine Mountains in Upper Peninsula Michigan.  Fortunately we hadn’t read the journal log in the cabin till the last day because there were many tales of bear encounters right outside our door.  One instance was just the day before we arrived and involved a little four-year old girl who kept telling her family she was seeing a bear, it wasn’t until she said, “Hi, Bear!” in a chipper, welcoming voice that they finally believed her and carefully retrieved her from a dangerous encounter.

We have bears that live in our neighborhood and visit the bird feeders or trash cans every now and then.

Ok, now that you understand the background here’s my dream:  We’re at a cabin.  The kids are down at the lake swimming with some other kids and an adult.  I’m up at the top of the hill at the cabin.   Other grown-ups start to act rattled saying, “She’s over there. . . no the cubs are 100 yards away. . .she’s getting near the cabin. . .should we sneak out to the cars. . .what about the kids. . .” you get the idea, panic.  Everyone knows you don’t get between a mother and her cubs, but I was starting to feel the same way.  I knew the kids were just having fun but the bears were between us and all I wanted to do was run to protect my babies regardless of what stood in my way.  The rest of the dream I was contemplating this option, but it was cut short when I awoke to Emma wanting me to make her breakfast at 5am.  This unresolved-ness kept pestering me, what should I have done, how could I have gotten to my kids, and worse yet, what would have happened if the kids unknowingly ran to find me and got between the bear and her cubs. 

There was no good, clear solution.  But the things that keep me mulling are how strong this bond is. . . how I would stop a moving train to help them. . .how closely I related to the instinct of the mother bear. 

I love that dreams can do that. 

Image courtsey of here.


2 thoughts on “just between bears

  1. I visit bear.org every day to see how the Ely study bears are doing, Shawna. Some of the photos of mama Lily and her cub Hope are so beautiful. They are very tender and playful with one another. Dreams are strange tools, aren’t they? Also – I laughed long and hard when I read Bryson’s book too. If you haven’t read “In a Sunburned Country” by him, I recommend it. Hysterically funny and so fascinating. God bless your Thanksgiving, Shawna!

  2. Julie!
    So good to hear your typed voice! Its true, I nearly wet myself several times as Bryson articulated Katz moments with such color. I will have to check out the Sunburned one 🙂 Blessings to you, dear Friend.

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