I was feeling somewhat lazy after my nap, so I decided to just move my rain jacket into the sunshine and lounge around a while longer. I noticed all the plants were crushed where I had been laying, so I knelt down to give the earth Reiki and thank her for sheltering me there. One of the plants looked like sage. There is a lot of sage around Merritt, where the land is more open and dry. I hadn’t yet found any near my land, but maybe this was it! I picked a piece of leaf, crushed it between my fingers, and smelled, hoping for the alluring sharp scent of sage, but it wasn’t.
As I knelt there I heard a sound behind me. It was a small sound, and I imagined it was a mouse rustling through the grass. I looked in the direction of the sound and saw a big black bear, eating grass and moving straight towards me! Not a mouse at all! The bear was only 20 yards away! I felt delight, fear, and wonder. My legs felt very trembly and weak as I crouched there. My senses became heightened and I noticed the sound of a squirrel with its rat-a-tat chatter nearby. I was worried about the bear getting closer, for I feared that if he discovered my presence too late, he would feel forced to attack. Inspired, I imitated the squirrel’s chatter, thinking it would alert the bear to my presence without alarming it. For the bear would surely notice that my call did not really sound like a squirrel!
Sure enough, the bear looked up and saw me. He froze. I continued to crouch, facing away from the bear so I didn’t seem threatening. I could only see him out of the corner of my eye. What would he do? I was afraid he would charge me. I scanned for means of protection, and prepared to grab the long thin stick that was on the ground in front of me. I could brandish the stick and stand tall. Or maybe hide behind the tree nearby. The bear was probably also trying to figure out what to do! He snorted and snuffled very loudly, and retreated about 10 yards back up the hill. Was he smelling me? He paused and looked to see if I would pursue.
I was still afraid he might charge back at me. I stayed as still as I could. The bear snorted and snuffled some more, very loudly, and then lumbered about another 20 yards up the hill, behind some trees. He paused again, and then snorted and snuffled away until I couldn’t hear him any more. What a gift! I wished I had looked at the bear some more while I had the chance, but I didn’t want him to think I was aggressive.
Suddenly, potential danger over, I felt very tired. I noticed it was very hot in the sun. I wanted to taste more of the bear’s presence. I wanted to follow him! It is always that way for me after magical contact with bears and other wild creatures. The visit is too short, and I want more.
I sat down and sensed into what had just occurred. It seemed to me that there were two levels of interaction going on. The level of the animal soul was obvious; my attention had gone to survival, and I believe the bear’s had too. We were both assessing each other as a potential threat, and determining the best course of action to take for protection. But it seemed there was another level on which the bear had contacted me. I had the sense that within or including the animal being there was a spirit being that was looking at me. It seemed that spirit being had a message for me. The feeling-tone was benevolent and protective. I recall that even now, more than five years later, though I didn’t write it down in my journal. At the time I wrote that the message from the bear was that if I am humble and have basic trust, I can stand my ground. The meaning of this has continued to unfold for me over time, with my sense of being able to trust in reality growing and deepening over the years. It has allowed me to act from an inner ground of confidence and support that can speak with gentleness rather than the protective anger I have used and written about extensively on this blog! The other impact of the bear encounter was that I felt called to do more to protect the bear. This theme also has continued to unfold over the years.
Wow, what an amazing, wonderful thing to happen on my medicine walk! It was still well before noon, but I felt that having seen moose and now bear, my day was complete. What else could compare to this? However, I was walking until dusk, so there was still a long way to go! To be continued…