Fear Quite Near
From Fairbanks, Alaska
A safe 200 feet ahead of me atop a knoll, a pair of huge grizzlies ravenously chomped away at a soapberry patch.
‘Make yourself be heard – just don’t surprise the bears!’ had been the ranger’s warning. If threatened by a grizzly I would simply need to play dead – if confronted by a black bear, I would need to try shouting senselessly. If this didn’t work, I would need to fight back. Bolting would be a blunder.
A stir in the bushes or a crackle of twigs did not really bother me – it could be that lone alpha wolf looking for lunch. Along lush thickets of willow and black spruce, I once spotted an oversized moose with her calf. At 1500 pounds, a confrontation with a cow defending her young was an incident best avoided – it meant certain casualty to the hapless intruder. I needed to just vanish without startling Mother Moose.
After this wilderness vacation, I returned to a different ecosystem back in the big city. Resuming a routine almost after a month’s reprieve, I set out for my usual morning jog. Autumn had shrouded the 5:00 AM skies in inky darkness. Not a soul stirred in this early morning quiet. After a few hesitant steps, I turned, jogging quickly back to the safety of my house.
If there is one predator I cannot handle it is a city mugger lurking in this darkness!
– In my new book Rambles into Sacred Realms: Exploring Divinity through Pen and Paint, I invite readers to experience such adventure and humor illustrating my travels.