WHAT IT IS
The confrontation between the Polacka and the Black bear didn’t last long, the tranquilizing dart to the bear’s rump saw to that. CO Micheals tagged the bear, put a tracking device on the animal and waited for it to wander off into the bush.
Months later, many months later, Micheals got a call from a wildlife management scientist with the Missouri Department of Conservation telling Micheals that his Black bear was detected not far from Springfield. Knowing these animals never travel such great distances Micheals convinced his boss that an investigation was warranted, and he was soon on a plane for Missouri. The bear’s wanderlust was not that of a tourist, whose ornate accommodation and promissory understanding keeps them ill informed on most things outside of their specific area of tunnel vision. He had neither the will nor the pretense to reveal a condescension that would bathe over indigenous realms because he came to the party as he was, not what he wanted to be. His trek was outside his history, indeed outside of any bear’s history, and the compulsion to keep moving became a force from the cosmos, that finally became an obsession, then a duty. If the day of arrival materialized, if the slings and arrows and bullets and press releases missed their target, the bear fantasized about his turn on the witness stand. Knowing he would never see that day brought him a measure of sadness, but he really didn’t care about that because another mile awaited.
WHAT IT IS NOT
Tiny LeBlanc was on his third week crawling around Louisiana swamp country, trying to avoid The Chaps, the police or anyone else looking for a piece of him. A diet of arrowroot, wild rice, watercress and the occasional coypu left Tiny a weak and confused man, ready to return to civilization and take his chances.
On his twentieth day of being on the run, Tiny heard a guttural sound coming from the edge of the swamp on a piece of high ground. He cautiously approached, soon coming face to face with a black bear whose rear hind leg was wedged solidly into a rock crevice. Tiny was no hero, but he knew stuck when he saw it and the crippling grip that tightened as you looked around for freedom. Tiny’s freedom, Tiny’s idea of freedom, was not that which is written in a constitution or famously elaborated on a declaration, but his was simpler and more direct. Tiny could see his freedom floating along beside him, as if it existed inside a companion mirror allowing him to look at it but never really experiencing it or altering the events or changing the destinations. The mirror was a cruel reminder of being stuck and it pissed him off enough to look into the bear eyes and decide to get him unstuck.
Tiny saw a fulcrum, just behind the bears leg, he scavenged a strong branch and now all he needed was a diversion so he could get close to the bear. As he pondered what to do next, Kitty-kitty and Kitty-cat scrambled along the ridge above the bear and launched a suicidal jump onto the bears back. As fur flew and cats were knocked about, Tiny lifted the rock imprisoning the bear and within minutes the bear was free and running into his new found freedom.