Thursday, June 21, 2007

THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF
BARELY MISSING A BEAR IN THE DARKNESS



Last night I narrowly avoided a collision with a 300 pound Black Bear on the Highway one hour North of Whateverpeg, a city of 750,000 people. It sounds so Canadian eh?

My daughters, both Dancers, had just been at the Concert Hall to see La_La_La_Human_Steps


It doesn’t get more urban than that.

Forty minutes later we are in Cottage Country near Lake Winnipeg, the 11th Largest Freshwater Lake in the World.

I am voluntarily driving them to a big Birthday Party that ‘everyone’ else has already been at for several hours.


We are bonding.
We’re blasting tunes and singin’ away.

I am driving a little slower than usual because there are so many unpredictable Deer grazing at the side of the road, a disgusting amount of kamikaze insects are splattering on the windshield, drizzling rain, and it is 10:30pm so it is dark.

We had just reached the turn off for Grand Beach
(Yeah, Yeah you know..
Playboy's List of top ten beaches in the World)

when Nic screamed at the top of her lungs

((“AAAAEEEEIIYYYEEEEEE!”))

I swerved within three feet of an ambling black Bear which of course is almost invisible under these conditions.
That Bear’s big bare butt just missed being barreled over by my 5,550 pound Van.
We barely missed him!


He would have felt the unbearable lightness of being dead.


If you happened to be in a small vehicle while driving into a full grown black bear the occupants would probably share in the unbearable lightness of being dead.

I was glad that I was drivng and that we were in the Van.

I seem to talk about Bears quite a bit, hmmm.. List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America_
As I stopped to release my daughters to their own kind I noticed that the tranquility of the Canadian Wilderness was shattered by exuberant, screaming, mirthmakers celebrating a Birthday, the advent of Summer, and the end of this year of University Studies
((“YOU MADE IT WOOOHOO!”))

Oh to be young again...the unbearable lightness of being older and wiser. In a few years Life will become more complicated than these 'kids' could have ever imagined. If only they knew what was around the corner...Ignorance is bliss.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Unbearable_Lightness_of_Being
I turned around and drove home well under the 100 km speed limit.
Another memory made.

36 comments:

  1. To be young, what is that exactly? I mean, they say it is just how you feel and the number means nothing. I think that is write. I know 20 year-olds that think they are old. Please!

    I thought when I turned 40 I would want to crawl into a box and perhaps for the day I may have. But since I am a single mother raising children ranging from 21 to 1, I do think that I have the time or the ability to be too old yet.

    As for the bear, I love them. Of course when they are not hungry and loking at me as their next meal. But aren't they beautiful.

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  2. insider,
    I am turning 50 this winter and have children ranging from 22 to 5 that make me feel 'young'. When I was 22 my father died from a heart attack, he was 46.

    Naturally I expected to check out in my mid forties.
    Now that mid centurion status is nigh I am amazed at how similar my outlook is when I was 22 but my brain works so much better with all of those hornymones racing around. Oh sure life experience is probably more important...anyway my angle was that we could have all been killed last night in the blink of an eye...

    a different vehicle, a second earlier at a higher rate of speed perhaps and a harder swerve...
    The inference to the lightness of being that our choices all add up and the whole existentialism thingamabob was to remind me and be aware of how incredibly lucky I am to have such great kids.

    My lesson is that it is wonderful to be alive even if you HATE the way this world operates...oh crap how did they describe it in the WIKI link ..

    "Life is unbearably heavy because it is only lived once. Chance necessitates a terrible urgency and awe-inspiring amazement at the course upon which decisions set one's life. Because we live once, everything matters."

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  3. I'm so glad you and the bear didn't make contact!! How frightening that must have been for all of you.

    And on being young...oh the joy. I drove my oldest and three of her friends home from a concert at 2am a few weeks ago in Seattle. I've never felt older in my life. Ever.

    I realized that I have been all grown up for a very long time and have forgotten just how much fun there really is beyond the mortgage, the job, the housecleaning, the pets and the bills.

    While I don't wish to be 18 again, I do want to recapture that exuberance.

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  4. We have rabbits in North East Hampshire.

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  5. V. Scurra: We have gerbils in southeast New Hampshire but you have to buy them.

    H.E.: Near misses are, like you say, so memorable. If only you didn't have to risk getting killed!

    It's so cool that you had the presence of mind to get off that shot of the thing just before you missed it...

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  6. Close call.

    It's scary to think that small things like the choice of car, a few minutes, or a bit more speed could have changed what happened so dramatically. But on the other hand, it sort of makes you believe in divine intervention or fate -- it definitely isn't times up for you or the bear.

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  7. Yeah, that would have been one hell of a collision. The effects of hitting a 300 pound bear would not have been pretty for anyone involved.

    Last summer my dad and a business parter were driving home back to EDM when a big wheel came flying off a semi-truck. It barely missed them.

    With the way it was bouncing, he said they most likely would have been killed if it hit them. It probably would have gone through the windshield and crushed them.

    I guess brushes with death make you appreciate it more - for a day or two at least.

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  8. we have kamikaze pheasants in Wilts - did the bear make it to the party?

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  9. Oh Homey, I'm glad you're safe and I found THE site for you.

    Everything You Need to Know About The Most Dangerous Amminal on Earth!

    /snicker

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  10. Also, HE, thou mightest checketh outeth mine blogge. ;)

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  11. Once travelling through jungles in Karnataka, we were almost hit by wild elephants. We were saved due to our very agile minded cab driver.

    Everyday there are media reports of tigers, leopards entering villages and towns. Last year 13 leopards entered various parts of Mumbai.

    If we cut the jungles, where do the wild animals go?

    Glad that you did not hit the bear.

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  12. certainly a point to ponder. We're having it this hard now, so certainly in the future wont be that simple. (minus that asteroid written 'destination earth' and also nukes and evil aliens).

    So how do we prepare ze kids for the future? Well of course you buy all Michael Moore movies and tell them 'America is Sick'. But you can buy them The Grizzly Man and teach them what passion is. In the end, we are survivors. Hope they will be too.

    P/s: Grizzly dude will be on Discovery in a few days. Ill get the DVD after that.

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  13. oh! I re-read that book last summer, and also Immortality. . .

    is half a century nearing that?! I do see you as a kind of a Highlander character sometimes. . .

    :-)

    I like grizzlies (glad you, the children and the bear are still all with us) but prefer polar bears

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  14. Kilgore Trout once wrote a novel titled 'The Naked Bear', it's about a bear that goes into hibernation and wakes up 200,000 years into the future and finds that ursines have developed language and weapons and now rule the world. At novel's end the talking bears stuff and mount the protaganist and disply him in a family den.

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  15. whoa! he looks just like my favourite teddy bear though :D

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  16. Glad that you are bearing up under the strain!

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  17. Glad you,the kids and the bear are still with us. There's nothing like a near tragedy to shock us out of our complacency. If my little "Daisy" hit a bear I'm pretty certain I wouldn't be here writing this.

    We only have to deal with roos and wombats and they can inflict a lot of damage but not as much as a grizzly I'm guessing.

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  18. Pam,
    I don't think that you can ever replace that wide eyed optimism underneath the rose coloured glasses of youth..I do miss knowing everything about everything.

    vicus,
    So I am told. That is precisely why all vehicles in North East Hampshire are equipped with a Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch should a vorpal bunny decide to attack.

    paul,
    Er..um Yeah! Doesn't it have facsimile stamped on that bear shot? Next time I'll be better prepared and take a picture while I am inverted just like pic of the MIG that Tom 'Maverick' Cruise snapped in Top Gun.
    Believe it or not, I have somehow avoided making any gerbil jokes on this blog.

    menchie,
    Remember Baloo's song in the Jungle Book?
    "And don't spend your time lookin' around
    For something you want that can't be found
    When you find out you can live without it
    And go along not thinkin' about it
    I'll tell you something true

    The bare necessities of life will come to you"
    oh yeah! ((jazz hands))

    unbearableblogger,
    That image of the runaway tire heading for your Dan reminded me of something out of the movie Twister! Woah!
    It is amazing how quickly we return to normal programming...maybe a couple miles down the road and we were singin' again.

    ziggi,
    I am told that Pheasants are not too swift. They aren't called Ring Neck because of the colourful band on their throat..I was told by a hunter that you can walk right up to them and wring their neck.
    The Bear that we barely avoided barreling into probably regained his bearings and went off to the berry patch.


    tidalgrrrl,
    YOWSAH! For a moment I thought that I had made it to the top of the Comedy Pyramid! Little ole me on the Colbert Report (silent T)
    What a hoot. I was very flattered and thank you for a wonderful new
    Desktop image. (Muah)
    You're a schmoopie!

    gautami,
    I wouldn't want to run into an elephant in Karnataka..which eerily sounds like Canada, hmmm.
    I know that leopards find housepets irresistably easy to snack on.
    If the forests keep getting mowed down where are they supposed to go.
    Believe it or not a woman in Canada was killed by a Tiger about month ago. Apparently this supposedly 'tame' Tiger reached under a very inadequate cage and ripped open the unsuspecting woman's femoral artery with one swipe.

    ghosty,
    Oh I have seen Grizzly Man several times and I regard it as a Nature/Snuff film...you know how it ends and despite Timothy Treadwell's obvious admiration for his subjects you cannot ignore the fact that his modus operandi was suicidal.
    Certainly the fact that he did survive for so long is a strong argument for the existence of miracles but his demise was absolutely inevitable.
    We do not have any Grizzly Bears in Manitoba you have to travel to Alberta to find them..or vice versa.

    i like the view,
    I loved Higlander when it came out what a cool movie..and a Queen soundtrack COME ON!
    Churchill, Manitoba, is world reknown for it's Polar Bears. Thankfully these beautiful animals live way up North because they are the most dangerous bear in the world. They will eat you. The Grizzly man survived nearly a dozen summers living unarmed around Grizzly Bears in Alaska..he would have been lucky to survive a few hours living in a tent around Polar Bears.

    allan,
    Woah sounds like something that Timothy Leary would have written in the 60s! Cool idea. Of course you are aware that Winnie the Pooh is named after my hometown. I still love to sing his song

    "I don't need a pot of honey.
    I'd be grateful for a platefull.
    When I'm rumbly in my tumbly,
    Then it's time to eat!
    It's the tasteful thing to do,
    Be it ten or twelve or two.
    For anytime is food time
    When you set your clock on Pooh time!

    Bears love honey
    And I'm a Pooh bear,
    So I do care,
    So I'll climb there.
    I'm so rumbly in my tumbly,
    Time for something sweet to eat!"

    Leila!
    How are you? Nice to hear from you again.
    He does look cute and fluffy but Black Bears are something that you want to avoid...unlike Pooh Bear who sings the ultimate workout song..
    "I am stout, round and I have found
    Speaking poundage wise
    I improve my appetite
    When I exercise

    I am short, fat and proud of that
    And so, with all my might
    I up, down and up, down to
    My appetite's delight

    While I up, down and touch the ground
    I think of things to chew, like honey
    With a hefty happy appetite
    I'm a hefty happy Pooh

    With a hefty happy appetite
    He's a hefty happy Pooh"

    whitesnake,
    Ah snakey my boy we have nothing on you blokes downunda. You have way more poisonous critters that will kill ya. Of course you don't have any large multicellular carnivores that will eat like a bear..I suppose a pack of dingos..but they aren't 300 pounds.
    How come the Brits didn't introduce Tigers, Bears and Lions when they dropped off the bloody rabbits and foxes?

    angel without wings,
    Does your little Daisy have a Roo Bar? Do they serve Roo-Bar (rhubarb)Pie in the Outback?
    Sorry.
    It was a Black Bear and not a Grizz my dear. A Grizz can weigh 1500 pounds and that would be like hitting another car!
    Here in Humanitoba we have Polar Bears in the North and Black Bears everywhere else. Winnie the Pooh of course moved to the London Zoo.

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  19. Black bear, grizzly bear, they're all big and hairy ......stop splitting bears...I mean hairs Homey.

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  20. Relieved you and your daughters (and bear) escaped harm!

    Wish your dad hadn't died so young.

    Many say (and feel)that 50 is the new 30. I think (hope) that attitudes about aging continue to evolve. Age IS what you feel.

    Yes, to living life and memories!
    "Time in a Bottle"
    "Color My World"
    "Cats in the Cradle"
    "Taxi"
    "Tapestry" (w/out the religious references)
    "Sunrise Sunset"
    "Blowing in the Wind"
    "Good Vibrations" (the name of my first blog)

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  21. The Great Bear! What a star you are, HE!

    My dad once killed a baby wild boar on our way to the airport!
    It dented the front of the car but that was nothing compared to the likely consequences of this event.
    Being hit by a "pig" was a terrible omen for my religious father.

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  22. sorry, I meant peasants

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  23. Just be glad it wasn't a grizzly, you and the girls woulda been smucked. (I know, we don't have grizzes here)

    It's a good thing you're Mr. Safe Driver, too. Those young girls of yours are lucky to have you as their No. 1 Chauffeur and all-around Dad.

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  24. Oh how I am glad to hear you are all safe and sound amigo mio...

    Brings to home how every second truly counts... I also think that you missed the bear because you were feeling good and vibrating at a fabulous frequency... tragedy was not meant to be! That's a big thing with us... to be happy, in the here and now and feeling amazing every second that goes by... tough lesson but worth the try FO SHO!

    As for the movie? I watched it at 19, in bed, with my cousin (not what it sounds like! Ha, ha, haaa!) as it was our escape from my crazy family... We would lock ourselves in my room every night (I was in the US and she was visiting me from Spain) and we would have a girl's night everynight and that was a magical movie that moved me then and touches me with its magic still...

    Faboo post amigo mio... but would I ever expect anything less from you? No way José!

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  25. Scarry,,,poor bear...lol, but really,..ohh, buttt, hahahhaa...anyhow, I am in a silly mood, glad you had fun signing tunes and that you are around to tell the tale, now,...go buy a lotto ticket now okay

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  26. holy crap dude- thats amazing!!! so i take it the bears are scared of screaming merry-making students...?

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  27. you would have been SO hamburger. lucky near miss, dude! do like the nursie says and GO BUY A LOTTO TICKET!!
    friend of my daughters' was crippled for life when she hit the northbound end of a southbound moose and got a facefull of moose ass and windsheild. totalled the car, almost totalled her.

    moose crap EVERYWHERE.

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  28. Inside every adult is a child wondering what the heck happened.

    I dont mind the responsibility of being an adult, paying rent, buyiong food, keeping a job, earning my way through life. Responcibility also brings privilage and maturity.

    Ignorance is slavery the truth sets us free, I would prefer to see the world as it is, not just the sugar coating. Maybe thats just me and im the odd one.

    Great tale/metaphor though:)

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  29. he -I had a look at the bear attacks list - made me feel sick about the child being taken from the tent -made me think of azaria chamberlain being taken from the tent by the dingo. It's hard -living over here- to fathom that people living in certain places over in your neck of the woods actually have to beware of BEARS -incredible.Glad you lived to tell the tale :).

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  30. I missed the HE bear...HUGGGGGGGGGGZ!

    Keshi.

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  31. aren't those great lakes by you deathly cold?? ... I've been in a Scottish loch in "high" summer and it was FREEZING!!

    just thought I'd ask

    ... passing via friends of freinds blogs ...

    I'm at gledwood2.blogspot ... do come by!

    all the best 2u
    from

    gleds

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  32. angel without wings,
    hee hee I am pleased that you enjoy bad puns as much as I do.


    gel,
    Thank you my friend. I am not certain about 50 being the new 30 because some of my parts are definitely past 30 but 40 would be nice...I don't know I don't fel old yet so I won't freak out until I need to. Wow look at these AM GOLD songs. I was around when these came out...
    "Time in a Bottle""Color My World"
    "Cats in the Cradle""Taxi"
    "Tapestry" "Sunrise Sunset"
    "Blowing in the Wind""Good Vibrations".. I have every single one of them in my computer music library yup, yup, yup!

    cream,
    I guess that that was a bad omen..never thought of that. Well taxanomically Pigs & Bears are genetic cousins; omnivores, males are boars and females are sows,
    so it would be a bad omen for me too.

    ziggi,
    Bloody peasants are a dime a dozen pfft! Bears are more valuable because they attract American Hunters and Tourists.

    without whatnots,
    Yeah actually I was going under the speed limit which was unusual because on the highway I am not as overcautious as I am in the city.
    I will not confess to anything illegal but this was my lucky day.

    miz bohemia,
    Good vibrations eh? You may be right because when you are on a roll good things keep on happening. I used to think that if it wasn't for bad luck I wouldn't have any luck at all...now I realise that I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet..literally.

    cazzie,
    I followed your instructions and I won $10! Poor bear? This wasn't some cuddly Koala or Panda and I wouldn't want to meet him if I wasn't in my Van.

    angel,
    We did have the tunes blaring as we barreled down the highway..but this dopey Bear must have been half asleep.

    first nations,
    No kidding. There is a huge difference between hitting 300 lbs. and 1500 lbs....plus the Moose is tall enough to go through the windshield of your Van! Without a doubt a Moose is the worst thing to hit..although I knew someone who went right under a moose in a low Brit import.

    aidan,
    Well there is some positive mental attitude. You just might be the reincarnation of Norman Vincent Peale (The Power of Positive Thinking)

    Always look on the bright side of life ((whistles))

    lee,
    oh yeah....last night I watched a documentary on venom and half the show was in Australia talking about Funnel Web Spiders, Blue Ring Octopus, and 5 of the top 10 most venomous snakes in the world!

    You have way more things that can kill you and we have a couple of things that will eat you and your horse.

    keshi,
    Don't miss me, just come over and hang out. You know when I am online.

    gledwood,
    Great question. Actually these lakes are pretty shallow since they are the remnants of a huge glacial scraping. So they do heat up in the summer and you can spend HOURS in the water.
    Loch Ness it ain't and we don't have any Plesiasaurs swimming underneath us either.

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  33. so r ya here now?

    where where? :)

    Keshi.

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  34. keshi,
    D'OH I was over at your place and then I went on a walkabout to see some other Aussie mates!

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  35. Oh young "homeo" (not starting blog rumors-just a platonic and friendly nickname since I can find "ART thou" here in a different form than the art on my blog and I like to nickname my blog friends.)

    I'm "grooving" because you're music taste is emerald. I think I read a cool music post here a while back, or maybe you commented when I was making "Tues. Afternoon Tunes" posts, with an eclectic list of top notch music?
    Music nurtures my soul. I don't sing well (but do it anyway usually alone), but my Gem does and we both love to dance.

    BTW, I kept my word. I kvetched in my most recent post. Since I added that category and saw it here first, I highly recommended your blog.

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