Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Bears Have Arrived!

It was midnight and I was lying in bed watching a movie on my portable DVD player. The player was casting an eerie blue light across the curtained window over my bed. From outside, I hear sticks snapping as a large animal approaches. Suddenly the animal rears up and I hear claws tap on the glass. I hear it sniffing around and then the claws scrape across the glass as it drops back down. Sticks resume snapping as it walks away. For a time, I lay there paralyzed with terror and then I force myself to cut through the fear and recall all the knowledge I've gained about bears. In the dark, it's easy to imagine the bloodthirsty monster but I know this is just the black bear that's been patrolling the area for several nights and dining on wildflowers near the cabins, occasionally encountering people and reacting with no signs of aggression. I know he has never seen such a strange light at my window and I know his reaction was simply out of curiosity, considering that he lingered at the window only long enough to assess the situation before moving on with disinterest. But it's not easy telling yourself that in the dark, where the monsters and demons lurk, waiting to rend and rip human flesh. The fear of bears: a primal response to an unfairly demonized animal, a response that is often irrational and unnecessary. What the human mind can conjure is often worse than the reality, leaving nothing but the fear itself as your greatest enemy.

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