Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My

I write with drooping eyelids, which I hope goes some way towards providing an excuse for the lame blog title. But I’d like to amend the title anyway. It is much more a case of ‘snakes and mice and bears, oh fuck’.

This was pretty much the family’s anthem as we braved a deserted forest in Yosemite today. It wasn’t chanted quite in the style of Dorothy, but it amounted to that. Not 30 seconds would pass without someone mentioning one of these animals. We all selected 1 of the 3 options as our particular favourite to fear.

I favoured the bear, and reflected on the inaccuracy of Ogden Nash’s poem ‘The Adventures of Isabel’. I’ll quote the first line to help those that don’t know all of Ogden’s works by heart (while we’re here, I highly recommend a full read of this particular poem. For starters, the plot is really unparalleled, they could make a Hollywood blockbuster of the 4 short verses. And also the main character’s called Isabel and that’s my name and it’s even spelt the same. Although it’s not the story of me. It’s really really not. Poem Isabel is a lot more gutsy than the live Isabel.) So the 1st line goes

‘Isabel met an enormous bear, Isabel Isabel didn’t care’.

But I did care. I really cared. I wanted out. Every upturned inch of soil was caused by a brutish bear’s paw. Every oddly shaped tree stump was a bear on 2 legs,scouting out victims, ready to strike. Every squirrel’s droppings was a constipated bear’s unsuccessful effort to clear its bowels.

The fact is, we weren’t safe, and I say that even with hindsight. For some reason (or maybe the key point here is the clear lack of reason), every other member of the family had weighed up the very real risks and decided that a scenic path was worth their highly possible and probable deaths. I was in the minority, begging for safety and a city.

In summary, this day has spared me my life, but taught me to never move further from a city (or closer to a bear) than Roundhay Park.

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