The Warning of the Bear

Illustration by Alfred Basha.

This morning I woke up to a dream an hour before my alarm was set to stir me. In the dream I was sitting atop a tall clay outlook, a humble throne. I looked down from my perch in horror as a bunch of white people, adults and kids, threw rocks at a white mama bear in a clearing at night. The bear was angry, roaring and standing upright. They had been throwing rocks for some time, and her patience was wearing thin. Suddenly, the bear ran through the crowd circling, moving more quickly than I thought possible, a warning. I feared she might hurt one of the smaller children, toddlers, standing innocently in the crowd. As she completed her loop back to her original position with her back against the trees, I began yelling, “Hey!” I knew that if she did hurt one of the people it would mean her life too, no matter whose fault. As I tried to get the people’s attention to stop tormenting the bear, for their own safety and for hers, I realized my technique was ineffective. My screams drifted into the din in vein as the people too were yelling “Hey!” and throwing rocks at the mother bear, my screams drowned out by the chaos of the scene. I was too distant, my approach too easily drowned out. And then I woke up.

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