I have wrestled with a grizzly bear all my life.
She comes to me in the darkest of nights, and the loneliest of days.
She hunts me by the smell of fear that is her prey, me.
I can feel her ever looming presence, her being
grips my heart with the clenching power that is her mandible bone.
Great is her presence both real and imaginary for she haunts me in my sleep,
when my world is still and silent, where peace should give me rest.
I can remember her first visit into my bedroom cloaked in the darkest of night.
I was a child, the age of 4 – maybe 5.
The summer air was warm and a breeze blew in my bedroom rescuing me from the heat of the day.
I don’t remember why, but the screen to my window had been removed, or broken – by myself or another, I do not know.
I had spotted her earlier in the day, off in the distance,
lurking in the field, as I walked home after playing with a girl whose family had been staying in a cabin.
Her curiosity and meandering ways had brought her to the small fishing resort where my family and I lived.
I remember waking up in the quiet of the night, hearing vast amounts of air being inhaled and exhaled, deep was her breath.
It filled my rib cage, heavy and tense.
The noise of her snout was taking in the tasteful scent in the air, me.
I opened my eyes from the dead of sleep and there she was, her head so close I could reach up and touch her.
Sheer terror pierced my bones and surged within my veins and flesh,
It was like nothing I can describe and yet I remember it like it was yesterday,
– like it was tonight, for she was in my bedroom again.
Her life on this earth ended that night. I remember her body hanging by ropes swaying in the breeze. “Go down to the neighbours and ask if they want the claws?”
“Wait, WHAT!!!??? The claws?” The bear was butchered that night, nothing going to waste. My first lesson of where the aboriginals got their wears. My first lesson on the occasional nessecity of death. The circle of life and how to respect it.
Somewhere in time and movement that I can not remember, I had managed to morph my physical body to be one with my bed,
creating as much space humanly possible between me and my bear as I woke my dad.
She may have died that day, but she continues to live in my dreams, my nightmares.
Its been years since I’ve had them and yet tonight, she hunted me again.
The beat of her breath rang in my ear, and
her jaw clenched my heart as fear ran down my back like condensated sweat.
She revealed her presence, lurking in the darkest of night, tormenting with teasing terror, and in an oddity that only a dream can possess.
Her razor sharp claws could gash your hand should you lean up against the wall of the house, its walls angered by the mere touch of human flesh.
In my dream, I have the gifted ability of the eyesight of an eagle, gazing over a rocky mountain valley,
watching her hunt me as I panic and flee through the forrest.
Running. Desperate. Grasping for safety.
Running, yet going nowhere.
And yet…..she continues on. As surely as time exists, she exists.
She hunts with a diligent determination and the patience of a lifetime.
Her thirst for my blood fuels her every move,
step by step,
dream by dream,
year by year.
It is not a matter of if, but when.
For 43 years she’s been on the prowl and tonight she awoke from her dormant hibernation, leaving her den which lies hidden the recesses of my mind.
I met her that night for the first time, it wouldn’t be the last time of my encounter with a bear, for she had many lives, showing herself thrice more and each time, a new lesson learned.
I have wrestled with a grizzly bear,
even if only it were in my dreams.