Last night after tossing and turning in my sleep I woke up once again in a sweat. Was it a hot flash that had caused me to wake up so suddenly? No, for the past year visions of bears have plagued my dreams on a weekly basis. They do not speak to me personally but these black bears somehow make their presence known and I have no clue why. Last night a bear gave me their dead cub and somehow it became mounted and stuffed and I then placed it in a long white floral gift box. I made a point of showing it to others like I was going to get the Nobel Peace Prize on Animal Planet.
Have I been watching way too much Stephen Colbert or was it something I ate? I have no idea if this all goes back to watching some of my friends being chased by a back bear as a child, only to have his father shoot it. Bears are symbols of calm, stoic strength and seeing that poor thing draped over a large chair with a beer in its mouth paraded around town has traumatized me for 50 years.
Last year some of you remember that I went to the Mill of Kintail in Lanark County, Ontario. When I got there, I was asked immediately by some high school students, working as Conservationists if I was there to take a hike. I shook my head no, and then they eyed my Twilight jacket I had on. They smirked, and asked me jokingly if I was there to train with the wolves to fight evil Vampires.
You see, there is a similar clearing here in the middle of these woods just like in the Stephenie Meyers movies. Yes, maybe in this very clearing I will encounter the glorious animated wolves designed by Tibbet Studios. I smiled and really wanted to say something snarky at this point, but then their next words stopped all my brain flow in about one second flat.
They warned me twice to read the caution sign for Black Bears.
Black Bears? What Black Bears?
I had to pay five dollars to possibly get mauled to death?
Is there a refund for my heirs if I get mangled or eaten?
No one knows I am here and how will they know how to look for me if I do not come home- or even identify what is left of me.
I tried to memorize the bear sign, but there was way too much information on it. All I saw were the following words:
“If you do encounter one, it is important to remember that they are powerful and potentially dangerous animals.”
Like I did not know this?
“Make noise as you move through the woods.”
So as I inched down the trail I made lots of noise. I am a walking, talking noise maker so believe me this was no stretch for me.
“Travel with others.”
Nice time to tell me that once I am in and paid my five bucks.
“Carry a bear bell or whistle.”
Geez guys, I don’t think I saw that specific item in Walmart. Where does one buy a bear whistle and will it work against the criminals in the hoods of Oakland also?
“Be aware of your surroundings by keeping your eyes and ears open.”
I forgot my glasses so everything looks a tad blurry and sometimes people tell me I am not a good listener. What are my chances here?
Here lies the marker for my beloved Trillium path. In the spring, the trail is full of thousands of the delicate white flowers. Do I really want to walk into the Trillium Loop now and what if I come out from the trillium path with only one leg?
Who the heck is going to give me a tourniquet? Most certainly not the Museum curator in the mill. She did not even know much about what she had in her Museum, let alone have a first aid kit for a bear mauling.
Lanark Village bear
“If the bear does see you, raise your arms and look as big as possible.”
“Speak in a firm non threatening voice while slowly walking away.”
So what does that mean? Do I look at him and say,
”Bad Bear, please go away!”
Or will he speak to me like the bears do in my dreams sometimes.
“Most importantly, do not run or climb a tree.”
You have to be kidding right? I cannot run period and I cannot remember the last time I climbed a tree. I honestly need a stepladder to look in the kitchen cupboards.
I now realize that I need some sort of protection to get back to the parking lot. I look in my purse and realize that a ball point pen or keys are not the solution but I have found the next best thing.
Argyle street bear- Carleton Place many years ago
There at the bottom of my purse lies an old pair of Crayola red scissors that belonged to one of my sons a zillion years ago. I had grabbed them in haste a few days ago to cut some flowers and now I suddenly felt like I might have a chance. I start to laugh and then get serious remembering the very last rule.
“Make sure the bear is not following you.”
Turning around I see a shadow peek out at me from some trees nearby. I immediately start running towards my car and wonder how long it will take for me to become lunch.I hear loud noises in the opposite direction and stop dead in my tracks. The bear or whatever it was is afraid and I silently wonder if he has heard the gossip about me throughout the years. I remember that if you dream of a bear chasing you it means you are avoiding a big issue in your life, and it is time to deal with it. I shake my head and laugh – bears, humans we are all the same and wonder if he had been dreaming about me. After all no matter who or what we are:
“Each of us bears his own Hell in some ways!”
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News