Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Bear

I'm kind of afraid of this Bear. He, or She, has been here, to my place. I know Bears live in the woods and so do I. I know that you'll see one once in a while and they'll run off. I didn't even see this one. But I saw the aftermath.

Seems like he was looking for something to eat. I'll call him "He" for simplicities sake. He tore down two bird feeders and drained the seeds. He tore two gaping holes in the BBQ cover. He knocked down a flower box, the one that was beneath the window next to the back door, and He bit off the head of the Mrs. Butterworth's bottle the kids had out in their playhouse. Oh, and he ate the compost heap and left two giant piles of crap about ten feet from my motorcycle!

No, I didn't see him. I didn't even hear him. But He was here all right. I've seen many a Bear in my life up north. You'll see them cross the road from time to time. One time when golfing we were held up on number two green. Mr. Bear was on number three Tee!

They are creatures of habit. Way up on the Canadian border they would ravage food packs of the canoe trippers if they left them unprotected. At the YMCA Camp where we worked, the Bears broke into the packing house and ate the food out of the packs, but left the food in the containers. I guess they just knew there was food in the packs as they have found it in packs before. They didn't even realize that there was a ton of food in those containers.

We're living in this cabin on Lake Superior. We're trying to make a smaller environmental footprint on Mother Earth so we have an outhouse. In the pitch black of the night, I sure don't want to run into a Bear. And even though I know that He's just wanting the contents of a pic-a-nic basket and doesn't want to eat me, I'm not shy to tell you He has me scared shitless, pun intended.

In my spiritual life, I have learned lessons about the Bear. In Anishanabe teachings, the Bear is a healer and protector. The spiritual man I know that conducts the Sweat Lodge ceremonies is from the Bear Clan. He has explained a lot over the years. I should be understanding the Bear and his visiting me should be a time of great rejoicing. Instead I have this feeling that I'm going to run into him on a trip to the outhouse and he'll, well, he'll... I dunno. I'll see him!

The Thunderbeings are loud and scary. They rumble and make a big fuss, but they bring the rain. The healing medicinal life blood of Mother Earth. But many people, especially children it seems, are afraid of thunder and lightning. The Bear is a scary prospect as well.

Around here, we have black bears. The grizzly bear or the polar bear will attack a human in some cases. But not the black bear unless it is sick or the mother is protecting its young scenario. Yet I don't want to see this Bear in the dark of night on the way to the outhouse.

Now if I were around the yard during the daytime, and the Bear wandered by at the edge of the woods, that'd be cool. When the moon is hidden by an overcast sky and the blackness is so deep you can't see your hand in front of your face, I get the feeling I'm gonna bump right into him. I mean, can He see in the dark?

The past two weeks or so have had a lot of Bear stuff going on. At one event, there was a healing ceremony. Bear meat was served at a Feast after. The Bear spirit was asked to attend and help in the healing. Last Sunday, we rendered bear fat into a salve. This salve is used for healing. I used it on my bum shoulder and honestly, I don't have that pain any more. I have two torn tendons you know?

Then, I had a dream about the spirit man that I know, the one from the Bear Clan. So coincidence is playing a part in all this. Seeing the Bear, talking about the Bear. Eating the Bear. Asking the Bear to heal and protect.

If you have an animal totem and the Bear is your power animal, you have a very powerful symbol. In a book called "Animal Speak", by author Ted Andrews, the section about the Bear gave me some insight.

Mr. Andrews suggests that if the Bear comes into your life. And He has come into mine, then maybe I should be asking myself some important questions. Is my judgement off? Am I not recognizing what is beneficial in my life? Am I not seeing the core of good in all situations?

I guess I can answer yes, yes and yes. If the Bear has presented himself as He has to me, then I must deal with what is put before me and not hibernate. I must deal with it. My fear is that I haven't wanted to deal with my judgement, recognition of the blessings in my life and looking for good in a world gone bad.

Actually, it all makes perfect sense to me. It might sound like a lot of mumbo jumbo, but as a way of finding balance, it is easy to accept and understand the way one might look at the things in life that are happening as we go about our business and ignore the rhythm of nature.

I'll think on this over the next few days. I have some traveling to do. The Bear won't bother me in the bathroom in Saint Paul at my daughter's place. That's where I'll be until Thursday. But I will ponder the events of the past couple of weeks.

To some, it might seem a bit corny to attempt to understand and deal with life's thrust this way. Maybe you pray to a higher power or maybe you get drunk. No wrong or right. After all, it is your way, your path. Mine is to see the Bear and stand before him and ask the hard questions and make the tough decisions. I'll be thinking about it. Last week, the Eagle told me I was doing some good things and I believe him.

Now before I leave, here's something that'll make you laugh. You see, Jimmy Buffet had a run in with The Bear before. Let him tell you about it HERE

Peace to All.


Mary said...

I love this post Spado. Thanks for sharing it.

Anne said...

oh man, that jimmy buffet took me waaay back, joe. thank you.

as for the bear, i can see why he would be your totem. i have never met you and yet it seems so logical. i understand your fear, and have spent many a night in the woods, camping, hearing bears rustling about. not sure what my totem is~yet.

have a safe trip to st. paul and thanks for the smile, again.

Pursey Tuttweiler said...

If I were you I would wear jingle bells to the bathroom. It will scare a bear away. Of course, it will wake up Barb too, but so would the sounds of your shrieks if the bear tried to eat you.

Best of luck in St. Paul. I am praying for your family.

:) Clutch

Anonymous said...

You need a chamber pot.

singleton said...

Safe trip Spado! I'll be watching for bears....hibernating is sounding awful good lately!

Anonymous said...

Nice story...but as a fish & wildlife biologist and outdoor writer, I can tell you that your view of black bears is totally misguided.."Black bears will not attack unless they're sick or a mother protecting their young"....give me a break, what rock have you been living under?

There have been 10 people killed by black bears in this province alone..and it wasn’t by mother's protecting their young..every last person was taken down by a predatory male black bear..they do exist, so you had better watch out. Humans are attacked by black bears every year; in fact, more people have been killed by black bears in NA than by any other bears…it is; unfortunately, naivety like yours that gets people mauled in the first place.

Me said...

My Hubby wears a bear charm on a neckchain. He swears it gives him strength.
Great post, Spadoman.

dawn said...

Nice story Joe, Have a great weekend

Anonymous said...

The bear killed Mrs. Butterworth. Bit her head right off. *chuckle* Oh, the inhumanity! *chuckle* ...Some say she had it coming - she was too sweet for her own good. HAHAHAHAHA!
Thanks, Joe, that was really oddly funny. :)

As long as you are always aware that your bear spirit guide is much wiser and gentler than a real live regular bear, you should be fine, right?

Apparently I have a squirrel and a panther totem/guide. (I didn't choose them, they just made themselves known without my asking.) I love squirrels, not scared of them at all. I love cats too, but if I ever saw a panther in the wild I just might pee myself!

Spadoman said...

Hey Jeff... Thanks for coming over to read my post. But I feel you're way out of line to sling mud in the form of your comment about what rock I've been living under. I'm, NOT a fish and wildlife expert. I have been living in Northern Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin for 32 years and traveling in these areas for many years prior to that. I just wrote about my experiences and rememberances of news articles I've read.

Now if you want to come over here, don't call me names or insinuate that I am a dumb ass because I don't have your knowledge and expertise about Black Bears. I also don't really appreciate one sided conversations. If I can't get back to you or identify you, and I can't with just a name and no blog site or e-mail ID, then I am sceptical of who it is that is giving me advice. For all I know, you might be someone who may be more harmful to me than a Bear.

If you can't be nice about the information you post on my blog, then your comments will be deleted. I don't call people names and use cliches to make them look less educated about any subject that I may or may not know more about than anybody.

Civility is spoken here at the Round Circle.

The rest of you fine folks, I appreciate your comments as well. Thank you all very much for coming over to visit.

singleton said...

May the circle be unbroken....

Anonymous said...

Jeff is from Canada. (the clue was he wrote "province").

Shame on you, Jeff, for being so snotty. Your information may be valid but your delivery sucks.
It's not nice to do a drive by. Get a blog so we can get to know you and leave comments too.

I don't want any of these folks to think we are all that rude up here.

Anonymous said...

Spado, (every time I see that name I think Speedo and get this vision in my head)...

Spado, your bear story was beautifully written and very entertaining.

I'm terrified of bears but have never actually seen one in the wild so I got a real kick out of reading your post.

You also wrote a memorable come-back to Jeff's comment. I hope he comes back with an apology and a link.

Anonymous said...

Spado, I just returned from camping out in cougar country & can say without reservation that the thought of meeting those chainsaws with teeth scare me far worse than the occasional black bear I've encountered. Had to take our dogs for a late-night "outhouse" run in the pitch-black with only a zillion stars for light. Kept imagining malevolent eyes, slavering jaws & twitching tail trained on me & even had to think which dog I would have to sacrifice if it came to that. so, I do know the feeling & am amazed at the spiritual way you are dealing with it. me, I would probably be installing some 14,000 watt stadium lights! ps, I read what you wrote to rude-jeff & hope you don't consider my comments one-sided & know I would always try to answer any comment you made, even tho' I'm not a blogger. guess I'll know how you feel if you delete me, huh? ~~ D.K.

Spadoman said...

Two more big piles o' crap from Mr. Bear, but no more damage. The neighbor must have better things to wat in his yard.

Mary... Thanks for stopping by. Great to see you. Glad you liked it. I know at your house, those birds come over and crap all over sometimes. Here, you just might step in a big pile!

Annie.... Yes, The name of that song was "God's Own Drunk". We called it "The Bear Song" and we covered it with the Dump and Shortcake band in the 80's.
The Bear isn't the animal I think of as my Totem. I feel connected to the Buffalo and the Eagle, but the Bear has definately been around in my life. I'm still seeking clarity, but seems like I had to start thinking differently about some things. Thanks for coming here. I love to see you've paid me a visit.

Clutch... If we wore jingle bells, imagine the racket coming from the bedroom!! Oh, that's right, we don't have a bedroom. Well, the racket from the kitchen table?
So good to see you here. Don't worry, I'm too old, salty and crusty for the bear to eat me.

Babzy... Chamber Pot, or Thunder Pot, either one, a good idea when it's raining, 20 below or the bear is sitting on my lawn chair waiting for me to come outside! Thank for coming here.

Singleton... Yes dear, hibernation is a great concept. If only I could shut my kidneys down at will and sow my breathing by 13%. Hope all is well with you. Thanks for stopping by.

Hill... That charm protects and heals. I guess that's strength. I carry a small stone in my pocket that has an etched Bear on it. Great to see you here. Thanks for coming.

Dawn... Thanks for stopping by. Always happy to see you've been here. You don't make a mess like the Bear :-)

Anne.. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Good to see you here. I'm still discovering whether the Bear is in my life for a while, or just passing through. I did get some answers to some tough questions from the encounter. I'll read about your animals and see what it says about them. Take Care and Thanks again.

Jeff... I already told you what your post has meant to me, whoever you are.

Deke... I know you. You don't have a blog, but I know usually where to find you. You're not hiding away like Jeff. I don't put my friends in the same spot as a stranger who stabs and runs. Glad you're back from your trip and hope it was wonderful.
You are right, if I saw as much as a cougar track in the back country, I'd be up all night listening. Bears run away from most people, cougars don't even show themselves, but are watching you. You never see them.

Is that right Jeff? You are the expert.

Thanks again everybody, for stopping by.

Unknown said...

I've read this post five times already, and tried to leave a comment that many times and none were worthy of a true human. Perhaps you will confront the bear in the sweat lodge, or perhaps you will confront him for real, but in either case, I feel you are chosen. And it is a good thing. Celebrate the old ways.