WHAT IT IS
Somewhere between Springfield and the Mark Twain National Forest, CO Micheals started thinking about why his black bear ventured so far from its own range. Twisting scenarios over in his mind, kept bringing him back to the same conclusion; the encounter the bear and the Polacka had, must be the source of the bear’s behavior.
Micheals’ GPS receiver showed the bear off the highway about four miles east of his position, so he stopped the car, loaded up his gear and readied himself for a difficult trek over rough terrain. Dense bush was like the cloud and cover that wrapped people in comforters of silent and authentic acceptance. With no trickery in their stride, their diary of fixations could be laid out on slabs of achievement for co-conspirators to scrutinize. Indeed, nervousness was the inevitable eruption when such a soul revealed a disinterest in what the mob chased down the road, cornering what ever fad or infatuation tempted their emaciated imaginations. The introverts are not leading the charge anytime soon, with their soulful stares, stacks of books and impressions, not to mention the bewildering ruminations…and while they are at it, they would well advised to jump off the teeter totter before the inescapable occurs. If what goes up must come down, then how long is the wait for the weight of equitability to hit the ground, supposing that gravity can have such an effect and supposing we can recognize the effect when it occurs. With all these imperfections wrapped up in a match called social discourse, those condemned to walk, by choice or circumstance, their path alone, most likely will survive to see another day, despite any protests from the puppet masters.
Micheals watched the Polacka, knowing it must truly be alone or something very close to it. His tracking skills did not find the black bear, but rather a Polacka. This switch, was it transformative or unconnected, intertwined or disengaged? Micheals approached the animal, but fad or infatuation caused it to disappear out of his sight.
WHAT IT IS NOT
It started off as a dull murmur, the direction indistinguishable but its effect mildly disorienting and disturbing as strange noises of any kind this far north was unusual. Emma paused over the dishwashing bowl, put down her sudsy coffee mug and walked out of the cabin into the treeless landscape. The sunrises here were often streaked with brilliant oranges, yellows and reds colliding over kilometers of green vegetation, grey rock outcrops and thousands of ponds ready to steal from the sky and keep the treasures locked in their watery depths. Today was no different. Emma walked through a small flower garden, along a path outlined with fist size stones she found in the area, to a wooden gate where she remembered to lift and open as one of the hinges was nearly broken and a replacement would be hard to find in such an isolated place.
The sound was louder now, and she was certain it was coming from the east. She ran to a height of land a half kilometer from the cabin, careful to avoid the round, slippery stones common in the area. Shielding her eyes from the rising sun, she searched the horizon for what she thought must be an airplane. The cool morning air pulsated like it was being squeezed and released, the dull murmur screamed anger now flooding any ears in its way and reaching the soul of even the soulless.
When Emma come to, she felt the large lump on the back of her head where her fall caused her to strike her head. The sky was blue now, all the color washed away replaced by cotton clouds dotting the sky and seemingly unsure which way they wanted to go. More mentally than physically, Emma checked her body; feet could wiggle, knees could bend, arms could stretch, head could turn…Emma rose to her feet, nearly fell over, steadied herself, then looked around. Something enormous had fallen out of the sky, leaving a long and deep crater over a kilometer in length. A pungent electrical odor filled the air and a thick grey smoke waited for a strong breeze to shrink its presence. A large thick furred animal walked along the edge of the crater, grazing on lichen and grasses, unaware of the large gash across its hind leg.
Several months passed, Emma’s patience and persistence saw the animal’s wound heal nicely and the two often walked the tundra together, exploring the ponds, the beautiful wildflowers and sunbathing on rocky ridges. On one such outing, a man appeared on the horizon, sitting straight and high on a magnificent horse and when Emma’s animal saw him, he galloped off in their direction, stopping briefly to look back at her, but soon disappearing from her sight.