Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Bear Slippers! (And a Real Life Tree Planting Story from my Olden Days)

Bears have a special place in my heart, because they remind me of my time tree planting with my brother, Darren. Darren is younger than me by a few years, but he kind of became like an older sibling to me during our time tree planting together. By the time I hit the bush as a rookie planter, Darren was already a seasoned veteran. He taught me the ropes and looked out for me.


One time, we were working on a block where there was already a forest (usually, you work on block of land where the trees have all been cut down). In this case, the majority of the trees were diseased and we were putting in seedlings so that there would be trees to take their place when they died. Or something like that.

normal cut block
We were all working separately on different portions of the block, when I started to see signs that a bear was somewhere nearish. Being as I was amongst fully grown trees, I couldn't actually see the bear, but I knew it was there. Somehow. I don't remember how. To be safe, I radioed my brother and he came over to work with me. I was maybe a little nervous or whatever, but working with my brother was pretty fun. And trying to keep up with him was challenging enough to mostly keep my mind off of large predators.

At one point, we came across some bear feces, and in order to see if it was fresh, Darren actually stuck his finger in it. Ahh! Smart and gross and--as it turns out--hilarious! Then he proceeded to tell me the direction that the bear was headed, based on the way that the excrement pinched off. I still don't know if he actually knew what he was talking about or if he was goofing around . . .

Oh, it was still warm, by the way: the turd. And it wasn't long before we were close enough to see the bear. Well, I could see the bear, but Darren wasn't wearing his glasses. What comes next is not my finest moment. The bear was close. Uncomfortably close. And while I'm pretty proud that I didn't soil myself, I wish I had not gone totally mute. Darren kept on planting--towards the bear. And I stood there silently pointing. And maybe making a few nervous sounds. Luckily, Darren either heard my nervous sounds or realized I had fallen a few steps behind him, and he turned around to see what was up. Still not talking, I did manage to point, wide-eyed, at the bear (who, by the way, looked a little sickly, which might explain why he didn't lope away, the way bears usually do). Squinting in the direction I was pointing, Darren's going "What? What? Oh!"

I don't remember what happened next. I guess Darren scared the bear off. We radioed the other planters on the block, and everything turned out A-Ok. Something about that little experience really solidified his role as big brother for me. Maybe it was him taking on the role of comforter and protector? Or the (possibly made-up) bear tracking knowledge? Now, whenever I see bears (in real life or in arts and crafts) I think of him and that first summer planting together.

my brother: ace bear tracker

Oh yeah, and I made these bear slippers:

For more bearaphernalia, check this out:

DIY bear silhouette with magazine strips (in Spanish, but I think you'll get the idea from the pictures)

my all-time favorite bear print by dsudyka on etsy

this miniature bear crochet pattern by thetinytoybox

and a set of five coloring pages (including bears) by LilaRubyKingShop

1 comment:

  1. That's an awesome story! I also love the new slippers