the bear essentials

The bear is quickly becoming one of my favorite animals, ranking only behind the tree frog, monkey, baby koala, and leprechaun. My bear experiences this year range from disappointing to entirely gratifying, but never comical. As a result, I have a newfound admiration for the elusive creatures whose majesty, might, and curious antics have excited us for generations. The bear is simultaneously a beast of fear and joy, one whose presence may annoy or fascinate depending on the circumstances. But never is the bear anything less than a true symbol of the wilderness, something longed for but never quite attained.

There is something mysterious about these vanishing omnivores. Man has always had to share the world with his ursine brethren, and hopefully that will remain the case in the years to come. Glimpsing bears in the wild is akin to seeing the face of Nature, the beautiful creation of God interoperating for the good of all things. It’s simply right, and something that should always be.

I must take this opportunity to introduce two of my new favorite songs that are not specifically about bears, but at least mention them. One is by Damien Rice, called “Cross-Eyed Bear,” and it’s not really a “new” song. It’s typical Rice, softly-sung with bare (pardon the pun) instrumentals and a provocative lyrical theme having nothing to do with bears. The other song is by Bob Schneider and was released on his recent “Live at the Cactus Cafe” CD. It’s called “Blow Me Back to You,” and the bear association is born out (a near-pun) in its first lines:

I wish I was a baby bear
Sleeping in the brown
Winter grass in April when the sun was going down…

This song has masterful writing that perfectly conveys Schneider’s adeptness at stirring up many emotions in the course of his 4-minute chance. The live recording suits it wonderfully, and I believe it would be much less poignant if sung in a studio. The entire song has a very heartfelt and personal quality to it.

For now, keep in mind the proper scapegoat for our world’s problems. I’ll give you a hint: it’s nothing a bear patrol tax will solve.

Immigrants! I knew it was them! Even when it was the bears, I knew it was them.

Moe Szyslak

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