Too Young to Know

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In this late summer season of baiting

the unwary,

where can a little bear go

to be safe from human predation?

He must travel to find his territory.

 

This question haunts me

even as I imagine Bb

combing sweet blue berries

with curved claw and paw

on a speckled granite mountain slope.

 

The young are too trusting.

 

Survival drives all bears to

bait sites where men with guns

wait, hiding like cowards

inside huts camouflaged in dull green.

One explosive blue flash

And white death claims another innocent body –

 

The Spirit of Nature keens

at the mindless loss

of one of her own

as I do, imagining.

 

The young are too trusting.

 

But it is also true that few wild

creatures young or old

have learned the ways

of man and his obsessive need to kill

if not a bear, then a hapless turkey, elk,

red fawn, or antlered deer.

All this slaughter for bone, skin, or roaring head

stuck on someone’s wall.

 

Nature provides a safe haven

for those fortunate to live

within her forested embrace, but

the trees are dying from disease

and relentless human logging.

Great holes rip

open the sky,

the sun beats down

turning to tinder,

damp ground

where mushrooms once grew

in abundance…

Fires burn out of control.

The forest is disappearing

even as the mist rises

out of this once peaceful mountain valley…

 

 

The young are too trusting to know.

keeping tracks

IMG_2094This last Sunday in November is the time each year that I give thanks for all the animals that still live in our forests as well as mourn those that suffered or died needlessly, especially for the “high” that so many hunters seem to experience  when they bring down their kill.

At dusk last night the three month – baiting hounding, trapping – hunting season ended for the Black Bear ( or four month season if you include hounding which allows hunters to “train” their dogs by running the bears to exhaustion and then treeing them – the only thing missing is the actual kill). The bears that survived are now able to enter the dens they dug last fall for an “almost” winter sleep. Bears don’t actually hibernate. In fact the mothers that will be giving birth in January will be sleepy now but will be fully awake and alert as they give birth and care for their cubs…

Deer season also came to a close last night at dusk (except for hunting with a musket and I don’t know of anyone around here that uses this method to kill a deer). Every year when the season ends I put out horse grain for those White -Tails that live around here. Last night I spread the grain on a board calling the deer in…Sure enough, they must have been listening because the board was clean this morning. I like knowing that the deer are aware that food will be available here all winter.

Although, some like the grouse, quail, snowshoe rabbits, and coyotes will continue to be hunted this moment of “thanks -giving”  re-aligns me with the soul and spirit of Nature even in the aftermath or in the continuing round of  death and dying – or at least this is what I hope.

Postscript: The picture of the doe was taken today (11/29) at 4:15 PM as she finished off the grain.