I stared death in the face yesterday, and if it wasn’t for one fallen tree across the trail that divided me and a Lazy Boy recliner-sized black bear, I could be dead. Or worse yet, badly disfigured.
I was coming to a stop and trying to decide whether or not I was going to go under or over the dead tree that lay across the trail. I looked below the tree and there was not enough room for even me to squeeze underneath. I gazed over the tree and that’s when I saw him. He was hauling ass down the trail in my direction. I tell ya, he was a quarter ton if he was a pound. I yelled, “Easy big fella!” (or something like that) and it startled the great beast. At that very moment, he planted his big bear paws and made a hard right turn, careening down the mountain side and uprooting the small trees and bushes that lay in his path. The ruckus sounded like someone drove one of those smart cars off a cliff and into the forest. And like that, he was gone..
Kelly arrived on the scene just in time to see the savage killer scramble down the mountain. He has seen bears in the wild before, so he seemed slightly less haunted, but this bear was my first; my virgin bear. If this sighting occurred 20 years sooner, when I was young and impressionable, maybe it would have changed the course of my life. After an encounter like this, maybe I would have dedicated my future to studying bears. Maybe I would have even gone to live among the bears. I wouldn’t mind sleeping all winter.
It’s too late now though. When I actually was young and impressionable, I was more impressed by the wild lives of motorcycle racers, musicians, and beat authors, and less impressed by wildlife. Hey, wildlife reminds me of the Van Morrison song “Wild Night.” Damn, that’s a good song.