Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bear Nation

It was after this that I first heard a bear speak. It was Lydia. She was walking up and down by the fence making this noise. It is a unique and unmistakable sound, like a plaintive nasal cry, slightly wistful, slightly melancholic. The Latin name for bear is "Urs" and that is exactly the sound they make. "Ur?" It's a question. There's a questioning tone to it, like something you might ask of the mountains, of the wind. Something slightly sad. "Why have you left me, Ur? Where have you gone, Ur? Why do all us creatures have to die?" You can hear the peaks of the mountains in its voice. You can hear the breathing nearness of the wind. You can hear the echoes of the forest. You can hear the lonely miles of travel. You can hear mortality and loss.

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