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Face Death Head On ( Learn To Be Still )

   Sun, June 15, 2014 - 1:40 PM
The Victoria Day long weekend found me in the wilderness at my natural home. It had been a long winter and i was a welcome tonic to get back to WolfHaven. In the mad, relentless rush of our lives WolfHaven was a place where I could find solace and the opportunity for introspection so after work I arranged to be dropped off north of La Ronge with all my wilderness gear. Because the winter had been long the snow had just disappeared and there were lots of stagnant pools of water making navigation tricky in order to avoid getting " a booter " . I carefully picked my way and arrived at the lake in good time only to be met with a new surprise. The lake still had a lot of thin fragmented ice in the center so I used my canoe as a mini ice breaker in order to get to the other side. I found that the ice was just a little too thick towards the center so I circumnavigated it as the day time solar heating had thinned and melted it at the shore line. The evenings menu was grilled ribs and chicken which taste especially good in the great outdoors ( This is what I call living ! ) After a peaceful long weekend I packed up my gear and got an early start heading out for my rendezvous as I intended to clear dead fall along the way back to the highway. The entire region that I was walking through is considered " bear habitat " but some areas are " prime bear habitat " and I exercise caution, making lots of noise to alert bears of my presence so they will move away. A bears natural behavior is defensive so if you make lots of noise you will likely not even see them. As I approached a steep rise in the bed rock known as " Bob's Hill " I made my way up almost to the top and decided to stop and rest that hot sunny afternoon. At the top signified a boundary where the flora became a mixture of pine and broad leafed trees, frequented by meadows and low bush berry trees, prime bear habitat so when I entered this area I was in full " bear mode " to avoid an encounter. Unfortunately for me that day a mother bear and her cub were right at the top of the hill at the boundary and I was in between her and her cub. Her cub went running the other way at the sight of me but she came charging down the hill at me. It is said that statistically nine out of ten times when a bear charges it is a bluff but I had surprised her and she was defending her cub so all bets were off that day. As my potential death raced down the hill towards me I momentarily felt fear rise in me but in those brief seconds I lived a lifetime of thoughts and became extremely focused, let go of all feelings of fear, aggression, projecting peace and serenity. I stepped into the path and towards death. If this was going to be the day I die I would face it like a warrior but I would first fight death with my head............ then with my heart. I assumed a defensive stance as she approached at a full run stretching my arms out to max in order to enlarge my appearance and stared into her eyes. I estimated her to be about five hundred pounds as I heard her paws pound the ground as she stopped in front of me and glared. She lowered her head and let out a low menacing growl and I could hear the power of this creature in her breathing, If she attacked, I would not likely survive. The two of us stood face to face on the hill side that sunny afternoon staring into each others eyes for about two minutes before she slowly turned, walked about six steps , turned and stared again, then she quietly walked back up into the bushes where she watched me for another ten minutes ( I could hear her stressed breathing ) before she retreated to her cub. I then proceeded forward making ample noise so she would know I was coming and move her cub away. That afternoon was the razors edge and I learned some valuable lessons such as not to wait until I am in prime habitat before I make a lot of noise and that you will never feel more alive then when you face death head on. Conquer your fear and you will conquer death. - Mikademus



4 Comments

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Mon, June 16, 2014 - 2:25 AM
Truly amazing post about a truly amazing experience!

So glad you wrote some more about your encounter and you write with such good description its like I am there with you.
Wow what a wondrous experience Mika.

The feeling you talk about, the fullness of living when in the wild, when occupied fully by the natural forces of nature, this is what we were evolved for. The heightened senses and feeling of what it is to be human when confronted with an experience like this is all absorbing.
I tell folks that when you arrive at night in the woods, all your senses are engaged, your mind works completely on looking out for survival, on dealing with the cold, on dealing with potential dangers. There is not room for worrying about work, or taxes, or relationships or politics, you are fully engaged on natural things and it feels right.

It makes me wonder perhaps this is why young men are drawn to war? They face death head on and conqueror their fears, perhaps they feel whole and feel they are living just at the moment when their lives are most at risk?

The big bears, so fortunate there is still wilderness in our world.

Terrific post Mika thank you so much for sharing.
Mon, June 16, 2014 - 7:37 AM
Thank you for your kind words of encouragement Adrian. It is always the goal of the writer to draw the reader into their world. I believe you are right about young men drawn to war. Testosterone, our natural territorial aggression and that humans are political creatures ( war is said to be an extension of politics ) make war a part of the fabric of human endeavour. Rome was built on this principle and survived for centuries on conquer and plunder before the system finally ate itself.
Wed, June 18, 2014 - 3:47 PM
Your adventures are described so well that I swear I am right there with you!

Though nothing beats being there for real :P I would so love to see the Canadian woods. I hear and have seen in photos that they are just vibrant and full of enchantment.
Wed, June 18, 2014 - 8:03 PM
Thank you Meeko
I love sharing my experiences with you gize cuz I know you have passion and appreciation for the wilderness.