Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bear Medicine

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

I saw you there in the
humid oak-poplar wood
of late summer morning.

Lanky young bruin
with perfect posture
and amble,

deftly trampling the
delicate ostrich ferns
with each
as you made your
way, intentfully
and agape,
up the rocky mountain slope.

I waited,


like someone who had
just found an unyielding
faith in long-rumored miracles.

Your journey and my journey
will intersect this day.

“Bear medicine,”
some would say.

And we did have our moment.


Standing still.

Fully aware of the other’s earthly presence.

Looking deeply into each other’s sight-full eyes.

Breathing each other’s privileged breath
in a way that even a poet shouldn’t
try to explain.

And, there, on sacred ground,
I couldn’t contemplate 'bear medicine.'

Couldn’t feel it tingling the hairs on my arms.

Couldn’t sense it transforming the course of my days.

Couldn’t bring myself to walk,
for even a second,
between the thin-veiled worlds.

No, no as we moved on from that moment,

You climbing Northwest,
Me climbing Southwest,

All I could think about was this:

What is human medicine to a bear?

What is human medicine to a bear?

Is it powerful?

Is it kind?

Does it leave you feeling grateful and graced?

Or, is it...?

Or, does it…?

This is what you left me with.

This question:

What is human medicine to a bear?

This question.

This question that has stilled me
in the dark silence of mySelf,

seeking the wisdom of thoughts
I’ve never before known.



Bear medicine.

© 2012-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
Published in "Wild Life:New and Selected Poems"

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  1. what an incredible encounter! i have dreamed of a black bear, and think of it often. thank you for sharing this sacred moment.

  2. Much gratitude to you, Stacy. I've been missing your beautiful posts! ox

  3. A question for the ages Dear Jamie!
    What is Human Medicine for the Bear?

    I need to sit with this for a good long while...

    This is another living prayer...

    1. Much gratitude, you and for you... _/\_

  4. Having just had a similar encounter, I have to say that you have so beautifully captured the essence of being in the presence of one of these majestic beasts in a way that deeply touches my heart. I feel as if at least one other person on the planet knows what I experienced two days in a row last week.

    1. Thank you for kind words...and for sharing a bit of your story.