even if

even if

I never see you again
you never speak to me again
you never love your bearish parts
you never let yourself get angry
you never let yourself get sad
you never let yourself feel
you tell yourself you are happy
you tell yourself everything is the way it should be

even if

I never see you again

I still love you
I still forgive you

I still love you

I hope that you truly do

find happiness

What do you see?

What do you see in this rock?

Bears all his sons away;

I wrote this story today. I am not Native American. As far as I know, I am white, but then, I have not done any genetic testing so who knows? This was inspired by a poem of the same title: https://everything2.com/user/etouffee/writeups/Bears+all+his+sons+away%253B

One
I am wailing. I am crying. The Bear came today, our bear, the tribe’s bear, our Spirit.

But he didn’t just walk through camp and take fish and his tribute.

He took my son.

He walked right up to where my wife stood still, as we must when he comes, and he lifted the boy in his paws. The boy was quiet and still, he did well, he was brave, but when the bear turned to leave, he called once.

Then our bear dropped to three legs, my son in the fourth, and turned and left.

My son, my son, my heart, my joy. Spirit Bear, return him to me!

Two

We fought, argued, for a very short time. The Shaman said that if Spirit Bear wants my son, he shall have him.

He does have him, I said, but I want him back. The Shaman knew that was true. Some shook their heads and say that my son is already dead, but most agreed with me. We were on the trail nearly immediately. The bear should not be able to move as quickly as usual when he is carrying my son. I dread evidence of my son’s loss, that he will be eaten. But that has never happened, in the history, in the songs. The Shaman said as much. But neither has a bear taken a chief’s son.

Three
Spirit Bear is moving amazingly fast on three legs. He is headed for the mountains. Not a surprise. My son may get cold. But bears are warm. My son has not been eaten.

Four

We have to make camp. I am so angry that we have not caught Spirit Bear. Out of our home camp he is fair game.

We do the Bear Dance, four times. We did not bring the masks and the young men dance the women’s part and one sings the woman’s part. We made quick rough masks and costumes. The Spirits will forgive us. This is past all understanding.

What does a Spirit Bear want with my son? Four years. No one knows.

Five
Day again. I am up before dawn praying for light, for my son, to find the Spirit Bear.

Six

We are hot on the trail. We find that Spirit Bear did sleep and rest. My son is dropping beads. Smart boy. Each bead means that he is still alive and relatively unhurt.

Seven

We have spotted them. Spirit Bear stood and looked down at us, my son tucked against his side. My son very slowly raised his arm, so he knows.

Eight

We are approaching the peak. Everyone is tired from the climb and hungry and thirsty. Yet we keep going. No one complains.

Nine

We reach the peak and Spirit Bear and my son. We arm our spears and arrows, but my son shouts “No! Look!” We turn. We see the water. There is something in the water. It has tannish wings that are filled with wind. It is huge compared with our boats.

We turn to my son. He stands and Spirit Bear leaves, ambling down the mountain, quickly, gone. I hurry to my son, sweep him up. He starts shaking and then cries, leaning his head into me.

We turn and watch the tan winged thing, which is coming against the wind. It comes at an angle and then turns, to the opposite angle, yet still it comes. We know this is new and that there can be terror or joy, we do not know which. There will be learning, we know that.

My son falls asleep. We carry him down to water and camp. We are all singing quietly, the song of new things, fear and joy. The Shaman will welcome us when we are home, and we will prepare for the winged thing. We do not know what it will bring.

We thank the Spirit Bear for warning us, for telling us to prepare.

bears

Those aren’t bears! Oh, yes… this is the New Year’s Polar Bear Plunge and these intrepid swimmers are now Polar Bears. The plunge is at noon on Marrowstone Island. A cannon is fired and people jump off the dock and into the water, cold Salish Sound water, in the low fiftys. Brrrr. The ambulance crew stands by and family and friends to witness this transformation into bears for the day.

U is for ursine

U is for ursine. Have you ever felt ursine?

Ur”sine (?), a. [L. ursinus, from ursus a bear. See Ursa.]

Of or pertaining to a bear; resembling a bear.

Ursine baboon. Zool. See Chacma. — Ursine dasyure Zool., the Tasmanian devil. — Ursine howler Zool., the araguato. See Illust. under Howler. — Ursine seal. Zool. See Sea bear, and the Note under 1st Seal.

I am thinking of my sister again. My mother called me tiger and her bear. “Chris bear” was one of her names. Have you felt tigerish or ursine? We talk about a temper like a bear or hibernating when we aren’t feeling very social and then there are teddy bears and care bears and last night I saw the new Jungle Book movie.

I know the book well and loved it. I spent much less time with television. The movie is a mix of the book and the Disney version and I am considering the deviations. Sher Khan did not kill the wolf leader in the book, though he did influence some pack members. And the ending is changed and an interesting change at a time when we are afraid of the disconnect that many of us feel from nature. We are afraid that too many people and that sin of greed are destroying species and destroying the world.

And so I do feel ursine. Sometimes it feels unbearable. Sometimes I want to rear up like a grizzly bear and tear down the veneer of civilization. Sometimes I just want to sleep as deeply as a bear and dream…. dream of playing with my sister.

In my photograph, two cars have crashed in the Octoblast and one has been ejected forcibly: that is my sister bending over it…..

 

 

S is for sloth

S is for sloth, the sixth of our seventh sins.

I took the photograph of my daughter a few weeks ago. She can’t be accused of sloth, though, because that was the day after a 12 mile mountain bike race. She came in first in the women’s 18-26 division. She also came in last, because she was the only one….

Dictionary.com at present:
1. habitual disinclination to exertion; indolence; laziness.
2. any of several slow-moving, arboreal, tropical American edentates of the family Bradypodidae, having a long, coarse, grayish-brown coat often of a greenish cast caused by algae, and long, hooklike claws used in gripping tree branches while hanging or moving along in a habitual upside-down position.
3. a pack or group of bears.

Webster 1913:
1. Slowness; tardiness.
These cardinals trifle with me; I abhor This dilatory sloth and tricks of Rome. Shak.
2. Disinclination to action or labor; sluggishness; laziness; idleness.
[They] change their course to pleasure, ease, and sloth. Milton.
Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears. Franklin.
3. Zool. Any one of several species of arboreal edentates constituting the family Bradypodidae, and the suborder Tardigrada. They have long exserted limbs and long prehensile claws. Both jaws are furnished with teeth (see Illust. of Edentata), and the ears and tail are rudimentary. They inhabit South and Central America and Mexico.

Just think of meeting a sloth of bears, eating blueberries, in the summer… I would not feel slothful then. And looking at the examples from Webster 1913, are we more slothful and sloppy with language than Franklin and Milton?

S

Sloth is a sin… but my daughter earned her rest…. and we all need to relax and rest sometimes and change our course to pleasure, ease and sloth…..