Spring is here––at least, that’s the rumor––a time for new growth and fresh perspectives. Although most of the U.S. has been enduring a rollercoaster ride of temperatures and precipitation, the environmental fluctuations haven’t stopped trees from budding or flowers from blooming. A recent hike in the Ozark wilderness reminded me that, for outdoor adventurers, spring can also be a time of increased awareness and precaution, especially for hikers and campers, as hibernating wildlife emerge from their winter shelters.
Regarding wildlife precautions, this week’s post is taken from the wildlife’s perspective and inspired by an incident that occurred during my tenure at Rocky Mountain National Park, one of many U.S. National Parks where visitors can witness and appreciate firsthand all that Nature has to offer. Although wildlife sightings in the parks are anticipated, life-threatening encounters with humans remain an exception rather than the norm. Should such an event occur, I sincerely believe that the wildlife are seldom to blame––they are, after all, wildlife, living in their domain. Please, these amazing creatures not only deserve our admiration, but also our respect.
Enjoy the post. Thanks for stopping by
BAD BEAR PRAYER
Bless me, Mother Nature, for I have sinned.
I have lusted for the candied aromas of toothpastes, sunscreens, deodorants, shampoos, soaps, and those most enticing granola and energy bars humans leave in their picnic areas, campsites, and tents. Though most of these items provide me little or no nourishment, I cannot resist the temptation induced by their sweet odors. I crave the tantalizing flavors that my brain reasons should accompany these wonderful scents.
Pursuit of these smells brings out the beast within me.
My uncontrollable urges have now caused me to damage human property and inflict bodily harm to two of those bipedal creatures. My actions will likely provoke the wrath of human condemnation. I may be labeled dangerous— a killer—and, therefore, have to suffer the ultimate sacrifice by relinquishing my life to satisfy those who brand me.
I am sorry, Mother Nature, but I cannot restrain myself—and why should I? I am merely a bear, being a bear, following the instincts you bestowed upon me to feed all spring and summer so that I might survive winter’s harsh reality and live to further my species. Yet, because I respond to the drive within, I may be destroyed by those sworn to protect me.
Mother Nature, I do not comprehend. If humans disposed of humans for being themselves, there would be few of them remaining, and I wouldn’t be pleading my case. Why can humans not recognize that for them a day in the backcountry is sport, but for me it is survival? If they desire a night under the stars without the threat of conflict, why do they not pitch a tent in their back yard, instead of mine?
And so, Mother Nature, I ask that you deliver me from evil. I am sorry if my indiscretions reflect badly upon you. That was never my intent. But as you know, I cannot reason or react like a human. I am, after all, just a bear. Please forgive me.