Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Common Sense with Bears

During my recent trip to the hinterlands of Northern Ontario, I met a bear.
Before I go further regarding the bruin, the “Hinterlands” of Northern Ontario are much more civilized than our southern cousins give credit and there are quite a few people in that stick-ridden, backward boondocks who know they are far better off than those occupying the smoggy, concrete jungles of the south. Yet, folks in the south of the province are convinced those of us from the north are flea-bitten, bearskin wearing, slow learning, axe wielding, red-plaid Neanderthals without the sense to move to the warmer climes. In fairness, there are fleas in the north, just not as many because the natural predators who eat them aren't smothered in tarmac, concrete, and lawn fertilizer.
But, that's another story.
As it often seems, I come back from Away to Not Away with a slightly different orientation than before I was Away. Yeah... that sounds weird to me too.
Back to the bear.
While camping in Pancake Bay Provincial Park, my partner and I decided going for a morning hike was a delightful idea. Why not, right? We're both hikers (outdoors people in general, really) and we were in prime country for just such an activity. As we're heading into the trail (not more than three minutes), we see a bear on the opposite side of a stream. As sentient homo-sapiens are wont, we automatically apply human principals to non-human, non-biped, fur, scale or feather bearing life forms and surmise the previously mentioned bear will remain on the other side of the stream.
The bear, with only bear-conceived ideals, had other thoughts.
He crossed the stream at a pace that far exceeded our previous erroneous conceptualization of bear speed... toward the path we were negotiating. Needless to say (or perhaps I should say), common sense prevailed and we backed out of the woods fairly quickly. My last glance back at the bear was a glimpse of him peeking curiously over a knoll at two abruptly less intrepid bipeds retreating to the road.
The human constructed road seemed safer, as if a bear, which lives in a park crisscrossed with roads, had never conceived of the notion to walk on the frigging road.
Man, we are a dumb species.
Later in the morning, I needed to make a morning visit to the latrine.
Yours truly discovered that bears, indeed, are mobile. After finishing my morning duties, I heard a sound outside the public convenience. Caution hasn't always been a strong suit of mine so I opened the door. There, not ten feet away, was my quadruped bush buddy. I had a sudden urge to repeat perform my morning duties. The bear wasn't looking at me nor did he seem to pay much attention. Still, I decided under the circumstances a vewy, vewy quiet retreat back behind the door might be the better part of valour.
We are an odd lot, are we not?
Our species, under its current condition, seems to have a fantastical misconception about almost everything. Firstly, determining what is a true threat and what isn't seems to be a matter of individual judgement. There are those reading this who will believe they could have walked up to the bear. There are others who might think my retreat was not linked to valour at all. There are still others who would have ignored the bear and continued blithely on with their day. Who's to say what the outcome may have been under different circumstances. The bear was young; probably less than two yet already away from its mother.
The whole incident sort of made me consider a lot of recent events and happenings.
Was Prime Minister Trudeau really photo-bombing a wedding with his shirt off at a beach or perhaps a wedding party at a beach was a complete surprise?
Is Donald Trump really presidential material?
Is Hillary Clinton really presidential material?
Are there really radio waves being heard from space?
Was the temperature really hotter this summer or was El Nino just being a bit of a prat?
Is it really necessary for a pipeline to pass through native land?
Does Nestle really have more right to water than the rest of us?
We can debate opposite sides of issues until we are blue in the face. Oftener than not, most events have so many sides to them we haven't the foggiest what the truth is. To some, Donald Trump is the perfect antidote to a troubled America. To others, Hillary is the perfect continuation of President Obama's legacy.
Some think aliens are trying to contact us and have purchased copious amounts of tinfoil hat materials.
Perhaps one should use common sense when deciding whether something is real or fiction. Not the common sense manufactured by industry, politics and Hollywood star-gazers. No. The common sense I am referring to is the kind that is; a) based on common knowledge and, b) represents the common good.
If the actions taken by a group are not for the common good of all, then it isn't common sense. Insert any decision choosing corporations, government or large institution over the needs of people. If actions taken do not serve the good of all people, then they are not common sense, regardless of how it's spun.
Common sense told me to leave the bear alone. Wild things do not require human contact and tend to survive much better without us interfering. Common sense also tells me to stop watching the news because of its over-hyped manipulation of the truth. Common sense tells me some starlet seen knotting laces at Bergdorf Goodman's isn't news. Common sense tells me we are living in a fantasy world of someone's creation and expecting to hear the truth from their lips when it's in their best interest to keep the fantasy going.
Common sense tells me the interests of large institutions and their profit margin are less important than the humans they impact.

Common sense tells me people are crazy.