The Proverb Admonishes

The proverb admonishes, “Don’t

         get between a she-bear and her

cubs.”  They sat and watched

         the survival of the fittest being

played out at what otherwise

         would have been the terrifying

distance of twelve feet, but

         even the adventurous camera-

man wisely used his high

         powered zoom lens as mother

bison tried to protect their

         young from mother wolves

who desperately needed to

         feed their pups back in the

winter’s den.  A bison calf

         lay mauled but not killed

by a mother wolf who sat

         staring from a safe distance

of perhaps twelve feet.

         The calf’s mother licked the

wounds and snorted and shook

         her head defiantly at the wolf.

Both mothers left at night fall

         to return at daybreak where

they found the calf who had

         survived the cold, lonely,

painful night, futilely strugg-

         ling to stand at its mother’s

urging to flee for the safety

         of the woods.  She licked and

nudged in patient desperation

         while the mother wolf sat near-

by. The mother bison watched

         her calf struggle and fall. She

then turned and left her still

         breathing calf to catch the herd.

The mother wolf moved in

         for the kill. Her pups would

survive and grow, play and

         frolic in the verdant spring

fields until the day a big, male

         black bear visited.  For how long

did the mother bison miss, ache

         and long for the calf she had to

abandon?  For the moment, the

         two viewers felt the conflict of

joy and sorrow from the safe

         distance of twelve feet.

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