Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Black Bear and the Blue Bear

Two points: 1) I love words.  The ability of pastors, politicians, and poets all depend upon the ability to convey ideas dressed in words; and 2) you may wonder why I use the symbol of a blue bear.  It’s because of the wonderful story The 13 ½ Loves ofCaptain Bluebear by Walter Moers.

In Captain Bluebear’s adventures, one of my favorite parts is where he finds himself in a society that sees the ability to tell lies as a sporting events.  Stadiums are packed to listen to liars weave narratives.  I love the idea of people listening to oral fables, the way the Iliad and Odyssey were originally passed along. 

Work has taken me to the UP several times this summer, and I’ve had the chance to do a few trails runs up there.  One tail run was on the North Country Trail, or more specifically one of the wings of the trail that goes along the Black River (and through the Ottawa National Forest), and which features several beautiful North flowing falls.  I decided to take this 8M out and back from one of the falls as a little mini-trail practice. 

After reaching the beaches of Lake Superior I turned around and made my way back.  Now, one thing about trail running is that it requires a lot of looking down at the trail, or you fall.  So, you can imagine how my heart stopped when I looked up, so I could look down the path, and saw a black bear. 

I froze.  It rose up.

It looked down the path at me.  Then away. 

Then back.  And then it turned and ran off of the path. 

I’d say I was terrified, but it all happened so fast I didn’t have time to be scared.  By the time I realized how huge that bear was, it had already run off back into the woods.  So, I can say it wasn’t a near death experience, but I can distinctly remember feeling and hearing my heart begin to race after that moment of absolute stillness. 
Later, while retelling the story to the Redhead, she asked if it was a male or female bear.  I informed her, I didn’t look, I was being modest. 
In retrospect, after my somewhat-close-to-an-almost-near-death-situation, my favorite part is the idea of a black bear and a blue bear quietly crossing paths in a National Forrest—perfectly natural if you think about it.


Murph said...

Holy Cow! What an experience! I’ve never run into a bear in the wild… even though I am always looking for them, and I hate to think what would be running down my leg if I ever had an experience like yours.
Glad to hear that the bear had other things on it’s mind than to turn you into it’s next plaything.

B.o.B. said...

It's hilarious that she wanted to know if it was a boy or a girl. Was she curious to see if it was a mama bear, which would surely be scarier than a papa bear who was just out for a beer. ;) Glad you're safe. Maybe get some bear spray?

Nitmos said...

I had a similar experience with an ill tempered bichon frise yapping from behind a slider door. I froze. He yapped. It wasn't until the owner came and swept him up in his arms that I felt safe enough to run on. I know exactly how you feel.

Redhead Running said...

Nitmos wins. Hands down.

Katie said...

Mama bear! I would have asked too.

Ironman By Thirty said...

You should have asked it if a bear shits in the woods. Then we would finally know the answer to that age old question.