After The Roar I Flew Up The Tree

High On Mountain
Aug. ’73

Carrying the last wood bundle back to the campfire, I heard a
strange noise. My first thought was that a huge bumblebee was flying
right over my head; such was the echo in the canyon. A second later I
put the sound in perspective. It was the distant howl of a bear. I had
heard that sound before, but this time it was different. It was night,
and I was alone. He was coming in from above and would be funneled
right into my campsite. I started throwing more wood on the fire, the big
stuff that I had been saving for later. With my rope, I hoisted my
backpack up a tree as far as I could get it. Just as I started to
think the bear might miss me, my deer buddies’ heads popped up and
they stared in the direction of the bear. I started looking for a
suitable tree to climb. Just then a thunderous roar shook the canyon,
and I stared at the four white tails as they disappeared into the
forest. It would have been ridiculous to follow them, but oh how I
wanted too. Instead, I flew to the tree that I had picked out. It was
the one with the deer pole attached to it. After climbing to the pole,
nine or ten feet above ground, I stood watching and waiting. I was
ready to climb higher.

The bear was close. I was right about him being funneled into my camp.
Alternative paths were either too rugged or non-existent. The bear had
followed the same streambed, and would pass ten or twenty yards from
my tree. I could hear him coming. When he got real close, he let out
another horrendous roar. After I heard what sounded like a bear
sending my pots and pans into orbit, there was another huge roar. I
was waiting for the bear to enter my campsite, but he didn’t. He
stayed out of view, hidden behind the stand of pine trees that separated my
camp from the stream. It was almost too dark to see anyway. Then I
heard a strange sound. Either the bear went swimming, or he fell into
the stream. It was a big splash. After the splash, I couldn’t hear the
bear anymore. I stayed in the tree, though. I didn’t want to do
anything stupid.

I stayed aloft for another fifteen or twenty minutes. When my friends,
the deer, came back, I figured it was okay to come down. I kept a
close eye on the deer. Their heads would pop up at the slightest
sound, but they always went back to grazing. Just as I was beginning
to feel comfortable again, I heard the bear one last time. It was a
bellow from far down the canyon. I knew I was safe then. I tried not
to think about his return trip, if indeed he planned one. I threw more
wood on the fire.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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2 Responses to After The Roar I Flew Up The Tree

  1. eof737 says:

    Did I speak too soon? 😳

  2. jgavinallan says:

    So intense…scary


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