To think and be productive in this past summer’s stultifying heat was a challenge.
I sought occasional refuge from my non-air-conditioned studio sentences and cooled my synapses at a newly opened upscale grocery store. My rent – a hot tea or ice mocha latte with soya milk at its restaurant area.
It was hard to come in from that climate controlled refuge where I came with note paper, reading material and red editing pen. But, even the homeless folks roaming the back lanes of downtown Vancouver use the phrase: hard to come inside. Inside is where we must go if we want to progress in society, in work.
Inside is where our stuff is and where we recharge our animal bodies in safety. The results of my creativity are produced inside. I am not equipped, by choice, with cell or camera phone, iPod or any fruited personal communication devices or laptop. To work or to be accessed I had to come in and stay in.
The bears inspired me to get back in and ‘just do it’.
A trio of friends in this weekend’s perfect weather ascended 4,000 feet up Grouse Mountain. This site’s webmaster challenged the Grouse Grind and climbed up in 1:09 – on the strength of his regular escapes from the cubicle to roller blade and cycle even in the heat of summer.
The designer and writer duo ambled over to the experimental bear pen – an easy hike from the 8 minute cable car ride.
The bears presented themselves, very unusually, for almost an hour, unobstructed by the trees, rocks and bush of their terrain. In full range of all our senses – and the designer’s camera phone, they pawed the ground and gave voice to comments as the ranger gave his talk. Grinder and Coula each now eat 40-50lbs of food a day in preparation for hibernation. While no food ever came out of the shed behind the ranger’s platform directly to the bears, they had sleuthed it as the source of their surprise supplements found here and there, on their turf .
Coula the coastal bear weighs in at over 700lbs now and is genetically pre-disposed to a larger size because of the protein in his dietary heritage. A typical year’s catch was 2,000 lbs of salmon in the wild. Imagine.
Standing fully stretched they are 8 feet tall. Inactive now in front of us, snorting and whining, they just look fat. Squat and lumbering, waiting for food that never comes.
The bears reflected my own state at summer’s end.
Constant camera observation, year round proved that even in hibernation the bears got up daily to stretch, walk and ward off atrophy. They lived off their fat stores for weeks and months while their kidneys recycled their water. They emerged ready to do what they do best – forage.
This summer, I hibernated- somewhat. I actually built on fat stores and unlike the bears needed my health care team to assist me in getting back to what I do best – synthesize and present information for other people’s development.
A giant living metaphor came down from the mountain with me.
The timing is perfect.
I return now to my own den of productivity. A new year begins for me culturally, spiritually and practically. I’ve been to the top of the mountain and the message is expend energy as needed for the right activities, keep moving and from time to time stretch to your full height and roar.