Today’s post topic: Circuitous Paths A stranger knocks on your door, asking for directions from your home to the closest gas station (or café, or library. Your pick!). Instead of the fastest and shortest route, give him/her the one involving the most fun detours.
It was summer and very hot. Our young black bear (just twenty months!) was venturing out on his own for the very first time. A million smells entered his nose and sank into the tiny folds of his nasal cavities. He could smell mother back at the big rock where she had nudged him away, the sage, a marmot in its den. But the smell that interested him most was the crisp, cool smell of running water.
He was a stranger at the door. His nose was giving him directions to a place he had yet traveled. Well, he thought, maybe once with mother, but it has rained too many times since. He decided it was time to start trusting his own instincts.
The water was not very far away, but bear could not see it or hear it. Instead he saw tall, sweet-smelling sage. And, if he stood on his hind legs, smooth boulders. Each boulder had a tree growing from its base. Bear followed his nose and it took him to the largest of the trees.
From one of the high branches of the tree, he heard a ruckus. And it smelled good. With ease he climbed up, up, up. A small nest held four tiny chicks. Their eyes had not yet opened and they were pink with newness.
Bear used his paw to scoop one of the birds. It squirmed and writhed and fell down, down, down. There it was very still. So, bear scooped the other three. At the base of the tree they were all four very still. He climbed down, smelled, and ate them.
Thank you nose!
The scent of water lingered in the air and bear followed it until something better came into smell. Bear had wandered into a small forest that followed a dried up stream. The shade felt good but his nose directed him to a small clearing.
There he found tall bushes with wide leaves. At the end of their stems were deep red berries. He could not only see the red, he could smell it. Using his long tongue and lips, he cleaned the bushes of their berries. Pit and all.
The heat of the sun began to burn into his skin through his BLACK fur, and bear decided it was time to listen to his nose. By now the water also smelled of fish and wet rocks. He was getting close, but his nose had one last adventure in store!
Between he and the water lie the long, flat, and black rock. He had seen it many times with his mother and knew of the animals that lived there. As he approached the rock, the animals, which were before quickly moving this way and that, came to a stop.
Smaller and even stranger animals come from of the bigger animals that lived on the long, flat, and black rock. Bear knew this. He saw the big animals open up and the smaller ones crawl out. Each one smelled so interesting.
He followed his nose on a path parallel to the long rock. The animals with the purple mother smelled a little like fire. The animals in the red (like the berries) mother smelled nothing like berries. They all stopped to look at him. But he didn’t have to look at them, and he didn’t care to. He was following his nose.
The most awful smell he had ever smelled came from the animals in a big mother. They were making a ruckus. Each one was holding up a small, black object. Bear didn’t know what this thing was, but he noticed that the animals did not seem interested in eating the thing in their hands. They just held them up to their heads in front of their eyes.
They must be trying to hide from me, he thought. How silly. I could smell these animals from the top of the big mountain, they smell so bad.
Bear could not know it. Would never know it. But the animals smelled of money and Subway.
He moved on and crossed the long rock, walked through more sage, and followed his nose down to the river’s edge. There he drank. The coolness of the water felt good on his paws. So he laid down. The current of the river tugged at him, but he kept hold of a root on the riverbank with one paw.