I knew a guy whose totem animal was a Grizzly Bear. This guy hurt me in a pretty profound way, and was, for a while, the source of many nightmares which made me afraid to sleep at night.
Now that I'm back in Ashland, where we first met and often hung out together, I am on high alert. He doesn't live here, but I have an irrational fear that I'll run into him at some point. I thought I saw his car the other day, and literally snorted root beer all over the table, causing my companion to grow quite concerned. We left the cafe and walked back to the dorms, making a sweep of all the parking lots to be sure his blood red car wasn't parked anywhere nearby. False alarm, I guess, but I felt like my day was ruined.
I've come to associate this guy with Grizzle Bears, and vice versa. The result is an unjust hatred for these wonderful animals, and I've now begun a personal campaign to un-associate him with the bears.
For those who have read about my nightmares featuring the guy in question, you'll know that it often took place in the woods near Lithia Park. I walked there last night to face the dream, with Ashland the mountain lion perched atop my head, his eyes glowing in the darkness to light my way. I didn't have a flashlight, and the dim glow from Ashland's eyes was hardly enough to illuminate the path at my feet. I kept thinking I'd see someone walk out of the shadows before me, but nothing happened. All I could hear were the crickets and tree frogs, and the brush of Ashland's tail against my jeans when I stepped forward.
I no longer want to think of the mighty Grizzly Bear as an animal deserving of my hate. Animals, after all, do not express hatred toward us; why should I express hate toward them? Just because one guy happened to remind me of a Grizzly Bear doesn't mean that all Grizzly Bears should remind me of him.
I'm trying to find a ride out to Winston, Oregon in the coming weeks so that I can face these animals in a controlled, captive situation. The Winston Wildlife Safari is an AZA-accredited establishment which houses FOUR massive bears, all of whom love to put on a show of play-fighting and swimming for celery sticks for those passing through the safari. I hope that seeing them in person will have the same affect as last night's romp through the woods; my enemy wasn't there, and once I confirmed it, I felt much better.