One of my oldest blog friends, Darlene Costner, sent this clip a couple of weeks ago. It is from a 1988 French film, The Bear (L'Ours), written by Gerard Brach from James Oliver Curwood's novel and directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud.
In the movie, an orphaned bear cub bonds with an adult male bear as they help one another avoid human hunters and other predators. Here is the scene:
Since I last mentioned my pancreatic cancer in these pages, I've been plagued with a mild version of a chemotherapy side effect known as hand-and-foot syndrome and tomorrow will undergo a short, minor surgery, an endoscopy to check for any internal bleeding.
In these circumstances, the film clip spoke to me more personally than it might have done a few months ago, the relentless mountain lion being my disease incarnate and the baby bear, me.
Within a few days of receiving the film clip from Darlene, another TGB reader, Marian Methner, sent a poem by Native American novelist, poet and Pulitzer Prize winner, N. Scott Momaday.
It is titled To an Aged Bear. Reading it, particularly after watching the clip of the cub and his adult companion, I felt like the old bear of the poem. And right now, at this moment in my life, that is a good thing:
Hold hard this infirmity.
It defines you. You are old.
Now fix yourself in summer,
In thickets of ripe berries,
And venture toward the ridge
Where you were born. Await there
The setting sun. Be alive
To that old conflagration
One more time. Mortality
Is your shadow and your shade.
Translate yourself to spirit;
Be present on your journey.
Keep to the trees and waters.
Be the singing of the soil.