Bear Bells (& human nature...)

I went out for a walk in the dark the other night (to watch the meteor showers down at Pine Point beach), & felt like a bit of an idiot, taking a flashlight & a “bear bell” with me.


I currently live in eastern Ontario (Canada), in a beautiful small town on the Ottawa River that happens to be frequented by bear visitors. This town is in the “boonies,” sort of: not too far from the “wilderness” of our huge, beautiful treasure of a park, Algonquin Park. (We are extraordinarily blessed in this part of the world to have about a zillion beautiful lakes, & some remaining forest. Very, very blessed indeed…)


So, there are bears in my town sometimes. I’m not at all freaked out about this. Actually, I think it’s very cool to live in a part of the world that isn’t utterly paved over & subdued – & I get quite a kick out of this bear business. On the other hand, I’m not really up for a close encounter with one, so I took my bear bell along on my walk – feeling a bit foolish (folks might think I’m not brave or something, hmm?), but also very happy to have the bell (thanks, Phil!)


I got down to the end of my street – bear bell still in silent mode (a magnet keeps it silent when it isn’t needed), & I saw (& heard) a woman jogging along Rutherford Drive – with her dog – a bell of her own ringing cheerfully & quite audibly!


And I thought, “Yes! I’m not alone! If she is wearing a bear bell – unabashedly – then I am not such an idiot/buffoon/twit to be carrying one myself.”


And then I thought, “Wow! What a metaphor!”


How often do we all go around holding ourselves in – feeling foolish, or alone, or afraid – only to discover we’re all holding ourselves in, feeling foolish, alone, & afraid?


William Crisman, author of the book The Opposite of Everything is True – Reflections on Denial in Alcoholic Families (a book I’ve found most, most helpful) said in the book “…for (like everyone else) I define myself by bouncing against others.”


It is so, it is so…


If only we could all “let go” a little more – ease up on ourselves (& everyone else), & just admit honestly to our foibles & fears, our neuroses & pain.


After all, we are all in the same darn boat, hmm?




p.s. We evolved to be tribal creatures, yes? Members of communities. Not “islands” unto ourselves…


p.p.s. Associated ‘Quote of the day’: “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, who also said, btw, “Sin is that which separates.”