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Rated: E · Fiction · Animal · #2317727
What would you do if you ran into a bear....
Today is Sunday. My favorite day of the week. Sunday is my day. No work. No appointments. No friend nor family obligations. Sunday is reserved for the woods. My safe place. My happy place. "My" place. Many years ago, I accidentally discovered a hidden jewel.

I was out exploring in a nearby forest. I was leisurely walking along a well-trodden public trail when something caught my eye. Just a few feet into the brush was the littlest BlackBerry bush I've ever seen. The first few ripened berries were hanging happily, ready to be picked. I carefully made my way over the hidden treat. I picked just a few berries trying not to be greedy. While I stood there enjoying my juicy stop, I looked around taking in my new surroundings. I could just make out the barely visible remnants of a no longer used animal trail. Being adventurous and a bit reckless I decided to follow it.

So, off I went leaving the popular trail behind and forging my own path. As time passed the old, covered trail began to widen more and more. This portion was most certainly an active animal path. I continued along eagerly soaking up the peace that I always find in the forest. I recharge my mind, body, and soul this way, so that I can face each new week out in the world.

At this point I am blissfully meandering along the path. As I come around a slight bend in the trail, I am suddenly looking at a mama bear. She's a lean, petite bear and seems to be a bit nervous. Her two cubs are very tiny. Just a few weeks old I'd say. So far, my presence goes unnoticed. Watching the timid movements of mama bear, I can tell she's a first-time mother. I immediately flash back to my first few weeks of motherhood. Terrifying and chaotic, yet beautiful and satisfying simultaneously. Not to mention exhausting!

I stand as still as I can and I'm holding my breath. I'm well aware that there's nothing in this world more dangerous than a mama bear. After all, I am one myself. My brain is jumping around like a rodeo bull. Remembering every contradicting bear rule ever to pass my ears. Run! Don't run! Play dead. Show dominance. Gosh, I have no idea which one is right. So, I just stand there and watch the new mama as she slowly becomes aware of me. I see her shoulders tighten and her back becomes straight. Inch by inch she turns her head.

We make eye contact. The world stops. There is no sound. The forest is silent. I cease to breathe as does mama. Every sense is shut down except vision. We stare at one another, and I can see nothing except her questioning gaze. She is terrified. She is excited. She is exhausted. She is mother. Her eyes say, "what if I mess up" "what happens if I don't know how to be a mother"? I too, am mother. I understand her on a level that only a mother knows. And mama? She understands me too. She sees that she is safe and not alone.

I cautiously lower myself to ground. Mama slowly nudges her cubs to her side. As mama lays down her cubs play safely at her side for a while. I silently watch. Mama and I continue to communicate without word until eventually the babies sleep. Mama gives me one last look. She is thanking me for being there. For providing comfort and confidence that she so badly needed.

It's been 15 years now. Mama has shared many seasons of cubs with me. She is a confident, proud, strong mother. I have rarely missed a Sunday with her. The gift of our friendship is one of my most valued possessions.
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