Mama Bear – Painting

When I was in university, I spent my summers in giant clearcuts in the middle of nowhere planting trees. It was grueling work because we were paid per tree, so the more trees we planted, the more money we made. Some days it snowed and it felt like a thousand knives pounding into my torn fingers each time they entered the frozen earth to plant a tree. Some days it rained and rained and I thought I might catch hypothermia. Other days the sun breathed fire with each breath and the black flies encircled me like a tornado, covering the sky, and hungry like a vampire, they left me dripping in blood.

One day I was out on a piece of land that was particularly isolated, minding my own business, planting away, when I looked up and there in front of me stood a black bear. Bears are common in Canada and the advice that we always hear growing up is to make a lot of noise and they will get scared and leave. So I started to sing at the top of lungs.

Unfortunately the singing piqued the bear’s curiosity. It stood up on it’s hind legs, cocked it’s head, and then came walking closer to me.

By this time my heart was pounding like a drum, I was sweating and panicking, and I dropped my treeplanting bags, backed away as fast as I could, made it behind a giant rock and then sprinted for 15 minutes to get out of there. When I finally caught up with my foreman and told him the story, he looked at me, shook his head, and said, “Oh, man. Nothing cool every happens to me!


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