My feet are cold; my tiredness lingers.
My back aches from stooping so low.
Dampened by the frigid water below,
I breathed warmth into my numbing fingers.
Again, I dipped my shovel into the coarse gravel
Of the stream dredging up with a gurgle
A mixture of pebbles and sand;
Into a bucket I poured it, firsthand.
In this wilderness I’m not alone; there’s bear.
Mindful I am of the sounds around me;
A churning stream, rustling leaves, an elk groan,
Snapping twigs, anything that would put a scare
Or raise my hair. I looked around for a tree,
Somewhere to flee before darkness set in.
Not far from here, I spied a log cabin.
Into this stronghold I placed my supplies;
Nature’s calm was just a disguise.
I latched its massive door; and bolted each shutter.
In its stone hearth, I started a fire;
Basking in its warmth worries melted like butter.
Outside, darkness enveloped the cabin
Strong claws raked its walls peeling away its skin;
Relentless growling resonated through the dusty din.
From this dream I suddenly awoke
Still huddled in this earthen lodge
Shivering in the glow of my flashlight;
A bear was ripping through the muddy grass
And the disjointed timbers of the beaver dam above me.
Deep beneath the surface darkness arrived;
Just as my light flickered, then died.
Jonathan M. Bellmann
19 SEPT 2012