Last Sunday I got the email I'd been anxiously waiting for...my shift notice at Explore.org confirming that I was going to be on the Churchill Polar Bear shifts! Starting this week!!!!
My very astute business coach, Sandra X, once suggested (to my over-committed and over-stressed self) that I accept only those activities that had me responding, "YES!" Any offer that I reacted to with a quibble, any doubt, or any sense of the shudda/wudda/cudda's needed to be rejected to make room for more Yes-events in my life.
That email was a huge YES. Helping with the webcams that cover Churchill Manitoba during Polar Bear Season means hours of sitting in front of my computer screen, looking at additional camera control screens, searching and searching the horizon for moving pixels that, zoomed in, turn out to be polar bears. Living, breathing, awe-inspiring bears - moving one more season across the tidal edges of Hudson Bay, waiting for the ice to form and their long fasts to be over.
I get that the view might seem bleak to some of you.
But the raw coastal beauty makes me serenely happy. I'm back looking for bears. It reminds me that even though our lives have changed in the pandemic (no tourism this year, no tundra buggies bouncing out and about), the bears have returned. They go on looking for edible scraps, being inquisitive about various things they encounter, and waiting for the weather to get cold - which, this year at least, I am still hopeful it will do.
With so much else to be anxious about this fall, and even knowing the impeding shifts that climate change will bring soon, seeing the bears again gives me a tiny sliver of hope that the natural world continues on despite us.
“Haven't you ever thought of living
unconsciously like bears, sniffing the earth,
close to pears and the mossy dark,
far from human voices and fire?
- On İbrahim Balaban's Painting "Spring"”