The radio program Reflections West is featuring a short piece I wrote for them called "The Bears We Never See." It's about the time my wife and I went camping in Glacier National Park and let fear get the better of us. The essay begins:
My wife has never been disemboweled by a bear. But there was a time when, in the wild spaces of her imagination, she felt a set of three-inch razor-sharp claws start at her navel and work their way up. And the teeth. Oh yes, the teeth, the thick saliva, the hot bear breath and the eggshell-crunch of her skull.
This is what we remember from that summer vacation to Glacier National Park.
I planned the trip for months. I highlighted trails on maps, I learned how to stuff a sleeping bag into a sack the size of Kleenex box, I calculated the weight of freeze-dried meals. If I thought of bears at all, I placed them in the distance, far upwind of where we'd be standing.
Each week, Reflections West pairs reflections like mine with a passage from literature and history. For my essay about ursus arctos horribilis, they used a wonderful poem by Lowell Jaeger called "An Awakening."
Click here to listen to the entire program