A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Visit From The Wild

Thank you Nancy, Jeni and Bev for the comments to my last post.

Last night I woke up around 3:30 am to the sound of some animal making a bit of noise near my front door (I sleep on the couch in the living room) and I thought that it must be a deer going for the left over sunflower seeds that I spread out on the steps for the birds and squirrels. I've been putting out birdseed and peanuts all during the winter, but lately I've been cutting back because I want the wild creatures to go back to fending for themselves now that spring is sort of here. Well, I looked out the window to see if I could see the deer, but what I saw instead was the silhouette of a bear. The bear must have seen me because it quickly left the stairs and moved over towards my car and the road, but then it turned around and headed back for the stairs. Then I stopped looking. It didn't stay much longer. And I thought, of course, just out of hibernation and starving and drawn to the food I had put out.

I felt a mixture of things--fear, awe, respect. Just from the body language of the bear, I could tell that it was intelligent, sensitive, agile and cautious. I was also very aware that there was not much standing between me and the cats and that bear and that I didn't want to disturb the bear; but I was nervous, so I slid into the kitchen and turned on the light and prepared some hot tea. For the next hour I was restless, though I knew the bear had long gone away. I knew that the next afternoon I would sweep off the last of the seeds and leave the outside light on by my front door all night, to let the bear know that I know it is around and hopefully to ward it off.

The last time I saw a bear was two and a half years ago just outside my house crossing the road in late afternoon/early evening sometime in fall. So this new incident makes me believe that I'm living in a bear's territory, though I have no idea where the bear(s) hibernate around here. I'm the perfect house to approach because I rarely go out and I leave out food and I don't usually leave on outside door lights or flood lights. But I don't leave my garbage outside and I don't have a compost heap. As human houses go, I'm pretty non threatening to a bear I guess.

For all I know that bear may have come to my front door many times and be quite familiar with the outside of my house. The other night I had a dream that two lions and a bear were outside a house I used to live in with my family. What a shock to see some beings so wild and yet so majestic, so close to me. There's the threat of danger and the absolute necessity to be extra cautious, but there's also a feeling like if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone and to a certain extent we can co-exist. Respect boundaries, don't act foolishly and there can be peace.

I have a small stone sculpture of a bear, a Native American sculpture that I got out West quite a while ago. Unfortunately, I don't know which tribe, but I do know that it was part of that tribe's ritual to take a small statue and try and draw the breath out of it and into your soul, to take on the particular animal spirit. I chose the statue because I liked what I read the bear represented, something very strong and positive. That, and I liked the beauty and simplicity of the sculpture and design. The bear fits nicely, smoothly into the palm of one of my hands.

Though I am scared of bears, I am also so glad that there is still some free country for them to live in. Humans are greedy with resources. Animals deserve some of those resources.

For some reason I think the bear was female because it was neither so big, nor so small in size. What's a good respectful name for my neighbor? Ursula means "She-bear" in Scandinavian. I wish her well. May she stay safe and healthy and may I stay out of her way.
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