Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Notes from a Postmodern Yogi...Bear

...always been a big guy...bit on the hairy side...kinda slow and lumbering...with a sweet tooth...and a grouchy temper....have been referred to as that big lumberjack guy...but, far more often, as a bear...uso, in Spanish....apparently, if I were gay, that’d make me part of a subculture...but, then, I’ve generally fit in with subcultures only slightly better than with the larger cultures they exist on the fringes of, so maybe it’s just as well...even if it was kinda cool for a while when the grunge look came along and I was suddenly fashionable...but those things never last...

I turn into a bear every so often. I feel myself becoming a bear, and that’s a struggle I have to face now and then.
N. Scott Momaday

...have seen seven bears in the wild...the first, in the Tuolumne Meadows campground in Yosemite, was huge...seemingly fearless as it ravaged campers’ picnic supplies...turning to show its teeth and moving as if to charge when people got too close...which was certainly all the message I needed...though, after a while, a ranger came along, picked up a few pebbles and got the bear running with a few well aimed throws at its gigantic furry ass....the other six were along the Appalachian Trail...mostly crashing through underbrush at great speeds to get away from apparent danger...me....and then, maybe a week after the last, in the wilds of New Jersey...really...saw a few in cages, also just along the trail, down below Bear Mountain in New York, near the Walt Whitman statue...where tourists from the city shot me ugly looks, assuming, apparently, by my backpack and dirty, hairy thru-hiker's appearance, that I wasn’t the kind of person they wanted anywhere near their picnics...

And the number one threat to America is... Bears.
Stephen Colbert

...modern society wasn’t built with bears in mind...that much is clear...a culture of frenzied production and consumption looking ever askance at hibernations of any length, as well as the furry wildness of bears, in general...

“Well,” said Pooh, “we keep looking for Home and not finding it, so I thought that if we looked for this Pit, we’d be sure not to find it, which would be a Good Thing, because then we might find something that we weren’t looking for, which might be just what we were looking for, really.”
A. A. Milne

...haven’t been too productive lately...somewhat indolent...attempts at decisive action like swimming through viscous sludge...struggling a bit, and then sinking...down through the floor, into the earth...to hibernate, like postmodern bears do, with the i-pod, DVD player and cheap greasy food from the Chinese take-out place down the street...but also books, yoga mat, and meditation cushion...making me a postmodern yogi bear...and I’ll crawl out when I’m good and ready...

So meet a bear and take him out to lunch with you
And even though your friends may stop and stare
Just remember that's a bear there in the bunch with you
And they just don't come no better than a bear
Lyle Lovett


Unknown said...

You are not alone. As the days grow shorter, colder and darker I have the same “hibernating” tendencies… So cuddle up with a good book, a cup of hot tea and honey, and a nice warm blanket… It is not so bad :)

WR said...

The bear is such a powerful creature in our collective memory. If one must hibernate come winter - what better body to be in than that of a bear!

the walking man said...

Bear with it.

Aviva DV said...

I, too, feel like my body's been slowly shutting down for the winter, moseying into hibernation mode. Unfortunately, that nasty thing called responsibility keeps me from definitively curling up on the couch and calling it a day...er...season.

Bob Weisenberg said...

I really enjoyed this and uncharacteristically have absolutely nothing to say about it except "Thanks for the great read"!

Bob Weisenberg

Brooks Hall said...

A "berry" bare bear
Hibernating in hairy
Hide. Won't be out soon.

Brooks Hall said...

another haiku:

Alone with iPod
And bare bear thoughts, lumberjack
Man cantankerous.

Meinda said...

Hey Jay--that's RIGHT! There is that huge counter segment of the gay culture referred to as bears! I know a coupe of bears and they really do fit the mold.

Speaking of bears--growing up in Montana, every year there is an idiot tourist who puts his baby on the bear's shouders in Yellowstone Park (they think 'Teddy Bear," "Smokey the Bear," etc--and just don't get that you probaby should not use the bear as a photography prop! YIKES!

Take care,


Lana Gramlich said...

We had a wayward, young brown bear amble through our town this past Spring. I never got to see him (or any others--outside of a zoo,) though.

Lydia said...

Aw, I loved this post - a great one. My husband saw a black bear up close in an Oregon forest but I've never seen one in the wild. A dream trip for me would be to see the Spirit Bears in BC.

Laura said...

Hello Jay,
I have bear tendencies in the evening after supper...I often lumber up the stairs to my bed on all fours...MS fatigue has a way of transforming a person in all kinds of interesting ways...physically of course, but our thoughts, feelings and spirits as well.

I relate most to the quote from Pooh bear...although I was not consciously looking for the "Pit" (MS) as I am learning to walk with it/toward it (as opposed to running away) I am constantly stumbling over/toward home (my inner sanctuary of gratitude and peace)

That silly old bear, always knew the right thing to say!

I noticed you following my blog and had to come visit your! And now, well I'll just have to link love you onto my list of favorite blog hangouts!

gentle steps, (Remember Gentle Ben?-ok admittedly I only remember the reruns-but still, I remember)


Bob Weisenberg said...


I loved your sensitive comment above.

Everyone should go and read Laura's most recent blog from Nov. 1st, which includes a startling poem written by a surprise contributor:


Don't miss it.

Bob Weisenberg

bereweber said...

i really enjoyed reading your OSO bear post, you are so cool!
also on the Berlin Wall photos, did you notice the Bear that was crossing the wall? reminded me of you heh heh, so big, cute, and cool!

bereweber said...

hey Dr. Jay, dunno if you drink beer too, but i came across this article today, and thought of you ;)