7 Seasons with a Grizzly Bear

She came to me in eostre of 2013, on a day in the Okanagan Valleys of lower British Columbia. I found her sitting in one of the booths, covered over with a layer of dust, amidst other antiques, and curio, watched over by a man who was himself quite grizzly. He greeted my aroused interest in the objects he had lying around, and tried to purvey his collection a little bit to my attentions, some velvet antlers, and tanned bone skulls caught my eye and I immediately picked them up, and askance of from where they came, “this one is a mountain lion from usa, and this one a grizzly from these hills”. I had to have them, and I bartered a good deal of 80$ for the skulls and the antlers, with a mexican blanket from his pile. The skull was rather small for a grizzly, probably a 3-4 year old female without the pronounced brow ridge and dental bulk. The mountain lion too was young, but when I laid my hands on them I felt I had made two lifelong friends.

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The grizzly bear and lion sat outside my camp in the mountains on a log for a few weeks beside my tent, before I packed up and headed east across the country, with the antlers and the two skulls packed into my bag. Since then, I have lived in roughly 40 part-stay locations on my nomadic travels, and had carried these totems with me the way through; canada, scotland, england, wales, iceland, norway, denmark, and mexico, then back to canada. The mountain lion was gifted to my partner 3 seasons after acquiring it, but the bear and the antlers stay proudly in my pack for much longer, until the antlers too were gifted to my squat house in Copenhagen. The Grizzly lasted the longest with me and is now in safe keeping, she has been a protector of the medicines I carry. Since I do not rely on hospitals, I carry a lot of my own medicines, or forage for plants that have healing abilities, and sometimes these are not looked on with respect by authorities. That being said, I have never had them taken away, or searched, and I believe it is because of the bear. Every country entered, she was there with me, through the airplanes modalities and wear and tear of a gypsy life. As a guardian spirit in the tipi I slept in for 3 nights in Vermont, on the calfskin that adorned my floor in my scottish highland bunkouse, in my center shrine of a roundhouse in Wales, and coffee table of an Icelandic cottage to the sleep cabin shelf on a float in the Copenhagen harbor. Her empty eyes have mothered my spirit through the woods, the mountains and back to the primitive. It is no easy burden to carry two animal skulls with you everywhere you go, but I am happy I did. Now she is in safe keeping with my brother back in southern Canada, and would it only be synchronous with the ally, that to my amazement on a walk down the Atlantic beaches of Nova Scotia, I find the front portion of a male Black Bear, with no lower mandibles or cranium present, but still all teeth, some heavily ground down by diet, fitting firmly in the skull, which now sits on my ‘mantle’ here in the maritimes.

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