Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Encountering Bear

I got home last night around seven to find a bear... a big black bear.... romping on the patch of grass between the house and the two small out-buildings.  When I pulled up, she scampered off only as far as the art house, then stopped and looked at me.  We sat gazing at each other for what felt like quite a long time - until I got the message She wasn't going anywhere.

According to both Native American and Celtic traditions, Bear brings powerful Medicine.  For me, I associate Bear with, among other things, my great-grandmother for whom I was named.  She gave me the first toy I remember loving... a teddy bear with blue ears and button eyes that was easier for me to handle than the enormous pink bear who was his friend in my crib and on my bed for years.

She died when I was barely 18 months old and I have one worn memory of her that's more emotional than sensory.  We are having a tea party in the middle bedroom of my great-grandfather's house.  I don't even reach the top of the bed, the pattern of the bedspread is enormous beside me.  Both bears are sitting propped up on the floor next to the bed.  My great-grandmother leans down from a chair I still possess, holding out something in her hand.  I remember looking up, into her eyes, into her wise kind face that had seen so much more of life than I could even yet imagine.  Her death had a powerful impact on my life: without her ameliorating presence, the relationship between my mother and my grandmother devolved into what I remember as the Great War.

Today, Jake goes off to spend a day with his Poppy, and all I have to do is tend to Baby Grace, my  namesake, and my great-grandmother's great-great-great-granddaughter.  

1 comment:

Stacie said...

How cool that you have that one beautiful memory of your great-grandmother. :-)

For most of my life I have had this reoccurring dream that I am being chased by a bear, or I come face to face with one and have to decide what to do. I think that is why I fear them. An woman who was into Native American symbolism told me that the bear represents the Maternal, and the bear in my dream may represent my mother. Hmmm.....