In the Garden of the Bears

Working on a new book! What do you think? A guy has a boating accident and recovers, discovering he has acquired the gift of prophecy.

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I remember because the bears started coming to the garden then. It was a blessing. I told people they were forests gods in the shape of bears, because my mind works that way. Even if they were just bears, I was happy. I pursued them from window to window to see what they would do. I went out on the terrace when the garbage tub was empty, to tell them they needn’t bother. These were wild, wild bears without the collars around their necks that the tame bears have. I pitied the tame bears, the city dump bears. I didn’t pity my bears, the wild gods passing through my fences like ghosts. I tried to imagine what they would sniff this time and what they would pass by. They said “whuff” sometimes. I think they said “whuff” when I’d say “Wow!” or “Watch out!” They sank down into the pond to let the cool around them. You wondered what the fish thought. They nibbled the water lilies. They didn’t like the water lilies very much. You think they’re going to be oafish and comical, but they glide like shadows, absolutely soundless unless they whuff or dig into something. I was planting in the garden when I looked up saw a bear staring at me, seven or eight feet away. I smiled and said, “Hi, bear. I’m working in the garden,” in case he wondered what I was doing. I went back to the planting, but I followed the bear’s thoughts for a while. He was wondering if humans had put all the plants into the ground, or only certain ones. Did humans plant the forest at the beginning of all things? It didn’t seem likely there were enough people right at the beginning to do all that work. I was going to stop and explain but when I raised my head the bear had gone. I figured he would. There’s really nothing to eat until the fruits ripen.
I think of the poetry the bears might have composed, the dances they might have danced were they not thinking of food all the time.


This is before I crossed over.

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