Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Bear necessities

The golden rule when confronted by an angry bear is not to run away.

Instead, play dead.

Unless, of course, the bear is hunting you. In which case, the theory goes, stand your ground, make as much noise as possible, and put up a fight. This should scare off most bears.

Unless it’s a grizzly. Or you’ve wandered into its territory. Or disturbed its young. Or threatened its food.

In such an instance, you may want to escape by climbing a tree.

Unless it’s a black bear. Black bears are excellent climbers.

Unfortunately black bears are often actually brown. Like grizzlies.

All this and more flashed through Ray’s head as the large brown bear bore down on him.

He felt like a marionette whose strings had been cut by fear. His feet seemed stuck to the ground and his legs too heavy to lift. He was acutely aware of how ridiculous, small and vulnerable he was; soft meat hung on suddenly spindly, brittle bones.

Ray smelled the pine and must of the forest. The boulder of muscled ursine rage barrelled its way towards him.

He didn’t know what kind of bear it was. He didn’t know what he had done to offend it. He didn't know why his mind was babbling away like this.

What he did know was that he was with a bear, in the shit, in the woods.

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