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Bear Poem

In recent years, the backdrop of my life — literally and otherwise — has been a forest.
During the summer, I sometimes string a clothesline from one tree to another.
On one lovely day, a mother black bear and her cubs investigated the hanging laundry and I photographed a cub standing upright and holding, rather tenderly, the sleeve of my sweatshirt with his paw.
I sent the laundry photo to a friend with a four-year-old grandson who asked, “Why does she put clothes in the trees?”
I’ve met many bears over the past few years and loved all of them. I’ve dreamt that I was a bear; I became bear, for one night.
Humans suffer deprivation from having lost what is wild. So, one day, to reach deeper into their world, I held a special poetry event for a mother and her three cubs.
I wrote four lines — one for each bear — on very thin, tiny pieces of paper, put each line inside a ball of suet and offered it to them, asking to be adopted and asking them to bring my desire into the forest.
I wanted to photograph them eating the poem but I was too slow and the bears were very fast. In the moments reaching for my camera,
the poem was gone.

Big Bear, be my mother.
Cub, hear my affection.
Cub, bring me to the heart of the forest.
Cub, let me dream with you, under the snow.