© 2011 Glen
Bear Bells on Okema Road
I actually hear him before I see him,
up ahead of me, around the bend,
moving in my direction. The sound
is that of small bells, more a flat rattle
than a high tinkle, more the sound
you might associate with sambas,
or Andean folk street musicians.
When the jogger bobs along into view
I realize that this ongoing announcement
of presence is not for my benefit,
but so as not to be an unwanted surprise
to black bears or other creatures, undesirous
of sudden intrusions. When he nears me,
he muffles his bells with his hand,
until we've exchanged greetings
and he has passed. The sound resumes,
gradually fading away down the road.
All of which, while striking me as
an interesting precautionary tactic for a jogger,
makes me wonder whether I am being careless
or utterly foolhardy to be walking here
with only the metronomic scrunch, scrunch
of my shoes on gravel road proclaiming
my presence to the beasts of the wild.
I don't dwell long on this thought.
The bears, or any malignant spirits
these woods may harbor, have already
had opportunities to claim me and they
have passed on me. So I'll just keep
going, moving forward, one foot
in front of the other until the end.