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September 28, 2011
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May 14, 2011, 2:40:44 AM
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Ode to the Grizzly by NaturePunk Ode to the Grizzly by NaturePunk
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.
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:iconsilvervulpine:
SilverVulpine Oct 9, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Powerful story, and marvelous image. :)
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:iconfelinefanatic:
FelineFanatic Oct 2, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I can see how you got to hate the animals because of him, and it's great to see you disassociating the animal with the person. I've done that before, with a name instead though. I haven't completely disassociated the person with the name yet though... I wish you luck :aww:
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:iconscarredwolfphoto:
This is an am amazing shot. I love the lighting.
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:iconshukumei-dessy:
Hope your disassociation goes well; I still cringe horribly when I hear my "grizzly's" name.
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:icondeeotter:
DeeOtter Sep 28, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Winston is a very nice place. I'm hoping to go there again sometime. I haven't seen their bears much. I think I saw one in the water my first time ~3 years ago.
Woodland Park Zoo is another place to go. They have two grizzly brothers in a pretty nice exhibit.

I have the same thing with foxes, I don't much like them, especially the red foxes. I'm attempting to do something similar. Arctic foxes have won my heart a little. There is one up in Tacoma that has a small fur poof on his head because of the summer coat.
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:icondemonkitsuneofnight:
DemonKitsuneOfNight Sep 28, 2011  Student General Artist
Gorgeous shot, and congrats on getting over part of your associations. :)
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:iconjustbstrong:
JustBStrong Sep 28, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
What a beautiful capture! Bravo; happy to have some updates from you.

I always look forward to reading your artist comments <3
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:iconnaturepunk:
NaturePunk Sep 28, 2011  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thanks! Glad you enjoy! :)
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:iconshadowbreaker777:
I feel a massive amount of sorrow for you. Whatever happened to you, someone who is as wonderful a person could never deserve to be so scarred by someone else.
I hope that you find perspicuity.
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:iconnaturepunk:
NaturePunk Sep 28, 2011  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thank you for your words. I was able to heal in a very profound way from the results of this incident while I was at Burning Man, but now that I'm back in the place where everything happened, I felt like the wounds had been re-opened.

On the bright side, facing my fear in the woods last night was a great help, and I'm confident now that even if I did run into the guy in question, I'd probably be mostly un-phased. There is one last place I need to visit in order for it all to be over with, but it's far away and I need a car to get there. I'm working on it, though. :)
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