Archive for May 10th, 2011

I was so sure that my bear fear was overcome, with taking on walking in the (civilized) wilderness. But, alas, not so.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl (that would be me). Now this little girl was a blank slate … in the beginning. But that blank slate got written on … in the form of little kid songs, and poems and stories.


The songs …

‘The Bear Went Over the Mountain”, “The Teddy Bear Picnic”

The poems …

“Fuzzy Wuzzy was a Bear”, “Round and Round the Garden”

The stories …

“Goldie Locks and the Three Bears”, “Yogi Bear”, “Winnie the Pooh”

Notice a ‘theme’ here? BEARS! I am convinced that they are haunting me … on my walks, in my dreams, and in far too many blogs! And here I go again …

So, it is a beautiful evening. The sun has peeked through the rain-drenched clouds to provide a perfect opportunity to walk my favorite trail. My beast is ready, as always, to walk, and sniff and … poo! My fine-tuned muscles are ready for a good one hour work-out (there’s LOTS of sarcasm in this comment … in case you couldn’t read it). I am ready, in every possible way.

This time, because I am now fearless of the ‘bear signs’, I start at the, more wooded, Derby Reach end of the trail. And my beast went wild! It always throws her off, in an exciting sort of way, when we walk in a ‘different’ place, or do anything out of the ordinary. There are new sights, new scents, and new, unpredictable living creatures to want to chase and eat (like geese, instead of the bunnies at the other end of the trail). But, I digress …

So, off the beast and I go, for our exercise at sunset.

Oddly enough, despite a beautiful evening, despite a perfect trail, despite the fact that this particular evening was the first respite from the recent monsoons, the trail was … quiet … empty … almost … uninhabited!

But that way A-OK, because I was footloose and carefree (if you watched me walk, you would probably add clumsy)!

So we walk to our ’30min. mark’ … a little walk, because I had to go pick up my swimming daughters. We paused to take in the view, the springtime scents, and for beasty to do her ‘business’ (and yes, I had a poo bag). And then we turned back to where we had come.

About half way back to our starting point, I started to notice that my beast was … shirking (I’m not sure if ‘shirking’ is a real word, but Dr. Seuss used it, so I’ll trust his authority). Now my beast is a bit of a … wimp, and shirking is not something new to her (unless a cat walks onto our property … then, heaven help the window she is aggressively trying to break through), but this was … different.

The hairs on the back of my neck felt as though they were going to puncture through my shirt. My heart was pounding so hard that my upper ribs ached. And it was pounding so loudly, I could hear it over the birds … wait! There were no birds chirping … other than my heartbeat, there was no sound … at all.

My fearlessness was gone. Then I started to smell something, something putrid, something awful. I remembered hearing that you would always smell a bear before you would see it … oh no, my fear, could it be coming true? Could there be a bear near the trail I was walking on? Could there be a bear near … me?

I decided to quicken my pace! My beast decided she wanted to not move at all! How dare she turn on me now?! And let me tell you, the way she was acting, I was very aware that SHE would not be my protector!

I paused, looked deep into the wooded areas ALL AROUND ME … I heard NOTHING, and, thankfully, I saw nothing … but, wait … off to my right there was … something … just a dark form, but it was something …

Then I started to have a one-person conversation … with myself …

Okay, Carole, do not panic …

What do you mean do not panic? I’m about to be the lunch at a teddy bear picnic!

Remember what you are supposed to do if you see a bear in the woods …


No Carole, think …

Okay … run FAST!

Carole, breath … now think …

(this monologue, dialogue was good, as it took my mind … and my eyes … off the dark form in the woods)

Okay, um … ‘avoid bears’ … that is my main goal!

And …

Um … look tall and don’t be frightened … are you kidding me? That is impossible!

Carole, focus …

Okay, um … play dead? Seriously, this cannot possibly work!

Carole, what kind of bear is it? A grizzly or a black bear?

What? Do you want me to see if I have a bear identification ‘app’ on my iPhone? How do I know what kind of bear it is? Heck, where is it? It’s gone! That’s it, I don’t care what I am ‘supposed’ to do if I encounter a bear … I’m running!

(my ‘other’ voice is drowned out as my life flashes through my mind)

I run, for what seems like forever, and at speeds that even the Bionic Woman could not achieve. My beast is resembling the Bionic Dog!

And then, I feel something, on my shoulder, and hear an awful growl … I’m … gonna … die … It’s got me in a bear grasp … I cannot get free … I kick … I squirm … it won’t let go …

And then, I open my eyes …

It’s my hubby, back in Canada, back in our house, back in our bed (after far too long), arms around me, whispering in my ear …

“It’s okay, Carole, it was just a dream, you’re okay … stop kicking me!”

It took me a minute to realize that I was dreaming …

Welcome home Hubby 😉

“Old Bear slept and dreamed,

dreamed and slept.

When he finally woke up, it seemed to him that no time had past,

since he fell asleep.

He yawned and he stretched.

He poked his head out of his den, to see if it was still snowing.

He blinked, and he blinked again,

and when Old Bear walked out into the beautiful spring day

it took him a minute to realize

that he wasn’t dreaming.”

Kevin Henkes from “Old Bear”

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