A Bear’s Journey

Here is a new piece based on events from a year or so ago. I’d love your feedback……


The little bear padded down the dirt trail, not noticing the hawthorn and ninebark grabbing at her fur. As fast as she could go, she knew, was not fast enough to escape the hunter close behind. She carried one of his bullets already.

She was confused. She was not ready to leave these mountains where she had played with her mother all last year and this spring. She was just now big enough to keep up, mostly, and even to lead the way.

She watched foggily from somewhere over the man’s shoulder as he worked on what had been her body. She no longer felt the pain of the bullet, the breeze ruffling her fur, or the cool earth underneath her. Her physical connection to the Earth severed, she wasn’t sure how or in which direction to move.


The hunter, too, was confused when he caught up to the blonde bear it had taken him two shots to kill. It wasn’t as if he was new at this, having guided bear hunts in places such as Alaska. It was a hazard of bear hunting to mistake females for males, but how had he so badly misjudged her size? He felt a pang of remorse, passing as quickly as it came. He would be dead one day, too.

He worked quickly, gutting the carcass alongside the little spring. It was still damp and drizzling, but slightly less so now in the late afternoon. He picked up his rifle and pack and made his way through the deadfall, following the spring back toward road and vehicle. His father waited at the neighboring cabin, talking with the woman living there. When he emerged from the brush to greet them, he could see the woman was saddened he had been successful. Yet she congratulated him, asking to see the bear’s remains when he brought the body through her place. She confided she had always been afraid of bears, and wondered if seeing one up close would help her become more comfortable with them.


The woman felt somewhat responsible. She had sized up the hunter and his father when she had found the father waiting in his truck at the top of her driveway. The son had hiked in via public land access to hunt behind her family land, and planned on packing out whatever he killed the same way. In her appreciation of their respect and a bid to be neighborly, she relented and invited the hunter to shortcut through, asking only that he not shoot an animal on her land.

But in the mountains it wasn’t that simple. The hunter didn’t know the fencelines, especially where fences were down or non-existent. The bear had travelled onto the woman’s place between shots, she surmised later after examining tracks. 

Two years later

If someone had told me, back in my corporate days, that I would be calling on the services of a medical intuitive and energy healer – over the phone, no less – I would have wondered at their sanity. Yet here I was, in a crisis of both finances and personal health and ready to take help where I could find it. A friend recommended a man from whom she had received highly effective healing services several times and I called him. After an extended conversation during which I determined he was sincere and knowledgable, I asked him to perform some of his energy work on me. His method was to do the work at a time convenient for him, without my participation, and then call me to discuss it. To my surprise, the effects of his efforts were noticeable: ten minutes before our appointed time for a phone conversation, I experienced a sensation of a weight lifting from my shoulders. Shortly afterwards, during the conversation in which this intuitive filled me in on his side of the healing work, I decided to ask him about another subject weighing on my mind. I was due to move to the family cabin in the nearby mountains within the month. Some years prior, the cabin had been the unlikely getaway landing site for an escaped convict and the young woman he had taken hostage. We had done our best to rid the place of any traces of the event, and I was curious whether there were still some unseen lingering effects that an energy worker might detect. 

I didn’t mention any specific reason for my request that he “look” at the cabin and property, in part so as not to bias him but also because I was curious just how well he could “see”. With the confidence of a witness, he came back to the phone after a short break and said a little bear had been shot on the property in the past few years, and the bear had not been ready to die. His first statement brought remorse and regret to my consciousness along with a wave of tears. I told him about the hunter I had given permission to cross our land, and that a young female bear had, indeed been killed just inside our fenceline. The hunter and his father were friends of my neighbors and seemed responsible and kind. The young hunter was no stranger to bears, having guided hunts in Alaska. I asked him not to shoot anything on our land, to which he readily agreed. His plan was to enter the area against the mountain from the public access a mile down the road, then loop back to the road via the trail through our family acreage.

Yet, in our corner of the world, fencelines and property boundaries are challenging to find in the best of conditions, let alone on a wet spring day when the focus is on tracking an animal. I could hear the shots from my porch. The father, who kept in touch with his son on radios, came to meet him in front of the cabin. 

We heard the son crashing through the brush as he navigated the downfall along the spring. He emerged soaked and dirty with seemingly mixed emotions as he told us of his success. He had thought the bear was much bigger than she was, and he had never seen the first fenceline he crossed coming down the mountain.

When he brought her carcass through the yard, looking like a bear himself with her front paws draped over his shoulders, I took a close look at what was left of a creature with such a fierce reputation. She was slightly larger than one of those very large dog breeds, with reddish-blonde fur. 

I knew this bear.

Earlier that spring, I climbed up a steep hill on my way to a favorite viewpoint. As I crested the little tree-lined opening, I saw a black bear engrossed in tearing up a patch of grass and dirt. I spoke out a little, hoping the bear would give way, but she didn’t even acknowledge my presence. I had seen her a few times before and knew she travelled with a small blonde bear, likely her yearling cub. I retreated to a nearby ridge to eat my lunch, and the pair passed by below me after a short while, stopping to nap under a tree.

A week or so later, the bears visited me at the family cabin. The small, blonde one wandered up the trail from the creek and into the yard while I was sitting in the morning sun on the porch, writing in my journal. When she was within about 30 feet of me, I asked quietly just how close she intended to approach. She startled, whirled, and trotted a dozen yards up the hill before stopping to look back at what had spooked her. Her mother, wiser to the signs of humans, sensed my presence and detoured to meet her cub. 

These were my neighbors.

The intuitive had listened quietly to my story about the bear and the hunter, but then had a more sobering revelation for me. Because the little bear was still connected to this land on some level, a larger bear – perhaps a grizzly – had showed up to protect her. My initial thought was that he meant an ethereal bear, without physical teeth and claws, one I thought I might be able to handle. But he warned that not only could the protective bear perhaps transfer it’s aggression to bears in the flesh, he believed there was a flesh and blood bear in the area.

Regardless of danger, physical or otherwise, I was moved to apologize to the little bear and offer whatever assistance I could to help her move on. At this point, I had little training and only slightly more experience working with the invisible realms. What I did know is that all such work comes down to intention, and on that basis I felt qualified to try.

I called the friend who had first referred me to the healer-intuitive and told her the whole story, knowing she would understand. She had been advised she is a ‘bridge’ between realms; that fact, coupled with her affinity for bears, made her the perfect partner for the work of helping a little bear’s soul home. 

We picked a late spring day with marginal weather, heading up the trail behind the family cabin on a cool, cloudy morning. The ground was just drying out from a recent spring snowfall and wildflowers lined our path. Just above the cabin, we halted our slow walk up the steep hill. There in the dried mud of the trail were bear tracks, the largest I had seen on this land, half again as wide as my size 10 boot. The big bear energy was solid enough to leave footprints in the mud. We were comforted by the knowledge the tracks were a few days old, and continued with our mission, following the trail as it branched down into the perennial spring draw, toward the spot where the little bear’s tracks had seemed to lead two years before.

We didn’t have much of a plan beyond our shared intention, so we simply stood quietly next to the narrow little stream among the lush plant growth, meditating. The forest was damp, cool, quiet, flush with the greens of spring. A light drizzle started, mimicking the conditions at the bear’s killing. We both found ourselves in tears briefly at one point. After ten or fifteen minutes we spoke quietly, sharing our experiences. She had seen her companion angels shepherding the little bear to rejoin ancestors and light. I had offered an apology along with compassionate understanding of a love of place that could keep someone tethered to this land. I could easily imagine what a delight it might be for a bear to live in such a land of plenty – water, sun, berries, cool wet springs, the shade of the creek canyons on hot summer days. There is nowhere else on the Earth where I feel so at home.

We returned the way we had come, noting the big tracks again as we passed. We felt a sense of closure, as if we had both given and received a great gift of some sort. We went our separate ways that day as shamans-in-training.

That summer, the bears returned to our land. A small dark-colored bear seemed to be everywhere I turned, on the trail and in the yard. A sow and her cub wandered nearby. My friend and I received formal shamanic training. The invisible world had become a felt presence.

*******A request to patrons (if you’ve read this far!!)******

 Please click through to the Patreon page to comment or click on the little heart if you want to let me know you’ve read it; it helps me know you’re out there and your presence gives me inspiration and accountability.

If you feel moved, I would be honored for you to share my Patreon page with friends or anyone else you believe might be interested in what I create.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.