By Charles Towne
I like bears.
It seems that bears are a lot more social than some people persons I know.
My friend, Buddy Bear and I were walking back in the big forest that surrounds the Wekiva river one day.
It was one of those just right sorts of days. You know the kind of day I am talking about, just right for hiking with a good friend, sort of day.
The sun was warm and the air was cool… a perfect Florida day.
I always enjoy hiking with my bear friends because they are never in a hurry. It seems that we humans could learn a lot from the bears and one of the things that we could learn is to slow down and enjoy life a little bit more.
We had spent some time in the big berry patch, not talking, just eating, until, filled to the brim, and overflowing, we decided to head for the swamp.
We met Galloosha, a lady bear with her two cubs and after rubbing noses in greeting, (that by the way is just one of the ways bears say hello) we sat on an ancient cypress stump and visited.
As we visited, Galloosha’s cubs, Tuffy and Burl were scrambling around chasing each other, and being full of life as are most cubs. They climbed over everything and everyone, their mother, Buddy, and me included, until they wore themselves out and had to take a nap.
As we sat there, just enjoying each others company I asked, “ Have either of you seen Mersy bear lately.”
Mersy bear is a young lady bear that I met in the big berry patch one day but I hadn’t seen her for some time. Oh, and what a sweet young bear she is.
With my question, I noticed that Buddy and Galloosha glanced at each other, and they said nothing for a few minutes until Galloosha said in a low voice, “Mersy is no more.”
“No more?” I said.
“No Chuck, Mersy is no more,” Buddy said.
There were tears in his voice as he said this, and when I glanced at Galloosha I noticed tears in her eyes as well.
Sensing their pain I asked, “My friends, what happened to Mersy bear?”
Galloosha moaned and tenderly touched her sleeping cubs as Buddy told me the sad news.
Mersy bear had been eating acorns in the oak grove on the other side of the river and was on her way back to the big forest. She was crossing the big, long rock when a man thing that carries people roared out of nowhere and struck her.
The man-thing that carries people roared on out of sight and was gone, but Mersy was terribly injured. She dragged herself into the forest, and that is where we found her.”
“And so, Mersy is no more… no more.”
With this sad news, Galloosha gathered her cubs, Tuffy and Burl close, and she looked at me with a very sad expression and said, “Chuck, all of the bears trust you. We all think that the great creator made you with a bear’s heart, but it seems that the other humans aren’t going to be happy until all the bears are gone”
Remember dear reader: Any fool can kill, it takes wisdom to protect.
There was A wise man by the name of John Muir, (He was the father of our national parks system) that once said. “If a war of races should occur between the wild beasts and Lord man, I would be tempted to sympathize with the bears.”
(Please dear reader, don’t get the idea that I value animal’s lives above the lives of humans because I don’t. I just like to believe that we were put here for some other purpose than to destroy.)
Photos by Charles Towne
Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.