I guess it was back around thirty years ago. Driving across this country looking for somewhere to live. Living in a VW, camping out. Checking out small towns with no future in them and a Safeway on the outskirts that had driven the local store out of buisness. Safeway! Hm, providing part time jobs that had no benefits.
Let’s not go there right now. Instead we will visit Montana ( I think) and a sunny day. I’m driving up a mountainside, turning a corner as it were, I pull up and there right in front of the van are two national emblems, Just sitting there. Maybe 5 feet in front of me. I’ve never seen them up close before, in fact I had rather doubted their existence at times, you know figguring they was like Old Bunyan or Rip.
But no here they are, as I sit in silence and awe they turn their heads toward me. They are certainly not bald and they are big, well huge would be a better term. They are very casual, they turn and look at each other. Some kind of acknowledgement takes place and together they take a couple of steps forward and , with a great flapping of wings take off and soar upward. The pair of them in sync.
I feel very small and so, so grateful for these few frozen moments in time.
What have I done to deserve this? Or what will this experience cost me down the road?
I don’t care, I drive on. Ah! here’s a lake ; with a jetty. Very strange all the way up here in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps some fishing? Yay!
Well, some time passes and I’m standing at the end of the jetty my bucket with five lake trout in it is toward the other end. The sun is warm on my back, I have a meal ahead of me, I am very happy. The impressions of the two eagles is strong in my mind.
Okay, time to stop. Turning around I am brought up suddenly to a freeze, my heart starts to beat rather wildly, a sense of panic arises, quickly quelled. But there , no more than six or eight feet away is a bear calmly eating my supper, carefully reaching into the bucket , pulling out a nice, smallish trout and stuffing it in his mouth.
What can I do? I’ve heard stories of folk rushing toward wild life screaming and shouting, making a lot of noise and waving arms around like crazy and the wild life turning and running.
Well, could give that a shot I suppose. The image that flashed into my mind of me doing that saved me.
I am standing, scowling a little, trying to pull myself up to my full height while at the same time trying to dissapear altogether.
Finally the bear stood up on his hind legs, he was big!, licked his paws literally smacked his lips, looked at me for a looooong moment, dropped down on all fours and ambled away.
Turning his head around toward me as he left the jetty it was as though he nodded and said “Thanks”
I went to bed hungry that night but filled with such a feeling of wonder and joy at having had such an extraordinary day
Extracted from a road trip across country while looking for somewhere to live