Blog 1853 – 10.20.2020
Who does not love a cute little teddy bear story. I saw lots of bears, brown and black, but no grizzlies or polar bears on my long drive through British Columbia, the Yukon, and across much of Alaska on the way and back from a work assignment that I had there eight years ago in Kenai, Alaska. I can tell you that they looked magnificent and scary, not at all cuddly. But, then soft stuffed toy replica bears for children have a way of transforming them entirely in our minds. I would nevertheless recommend obeying the signs, “Stay In Your Car” & “Do Not Feed The Bears.”
I recount a joke on the subject that I heard some years ago: “A usual Sunday Church goer skipped church during hunting season one Sunday to go hunting. As he was walking through the woods he stumbled over a log in the trail and dropped his gun. Reaching to pick it up he caught the vision out of the corner of his eye of a bear close by. Not stopping to pick up the gun he ran from the bear till he was exhausted, then knelt to pray for his deliverance. He was startled to see the bear also knelt to pray. The hunter thought for a moment that his prayer had been answered till he overheard the words of the bear’s prayer: “Lord for that we are about to receive, we thank you. Amen.”
I am sure one point of that joke was to encourage regular Sunday Church attendance but having long ago settled on Saint Mattress over Saint Mathews I figure it makes another point, to me a more important point: Beware of bears and other wild animals.
From time to time there is a news story about someone getting mauled or killed trying to get a selfie with a lion, tiger, or bear. I just heard several Dorothy(s) say, “Oh, My!” Oh, my, indeed, don’t you do. Trust them to be true to their natures, they are meat eaters with no compunction regarding the value of human lives over any other creature. We have been taught many of us to cuddle teddy bears, but also that bear skin rugs look cool by a roaring fireplace with a big bear steak on our plate at the dinner table. We do not realize that our minds are a nest of mixed often conflicting messages. I laugh at another short animal joke: “The animals are our friends and what do we do with our friends: We eat them.” True friends do not let their friends drive drunk nor do they eat them. A little loving and lusty consensual nibbling is, I think, quite allowed, just try not to draw blood. Hickeys are to me better hunting trophies than heads hanging on the walls.
I knew a man once in Indiana that showed me his trophy room filled with stuffed animals that he had shot and killed himself and taken to the taxidermist, not to cuddle but to show off his male prowess. I confess, that just to spend time with my dad, an avid hunter and fisherman, I hunted a few times as a teen. My total kill on those outings was one rabbit and one quail, not two of my proudest moments. We ate them both. My proudest moment in the woods was seeing a large beautiful doe that walked right up to me standing by a tree gun in hand. I could not kill that beautiful harmless creature nor she me, thank heaven. We parted friends.
I have flirted with being a vegetarian or vegan several times as an adult, but remain a meat eater. I still think raising animals in great herds to eat is wrong on several levels. There are less soul crushing, less planet damaging, and probably more healthy ways to feed ourselves.
The oil and natural gas producers, to defend their rape of the planet say that animals raised to eat contribute more methane gas and use more clean water than they do. Two wrongs do not make either right. We are slow learners, but hopefully we still have time to learn a few lessons about surviving and sharing this still beautiful big blue ball in space and time.
Your friend and fellow traveler,