Wednesday, September 11, 2013

melt down, then move on...

 at least i hope that is how it works.  today was melt down.  a comment was made, but that doesn't matter really. it was going to happen at some point.  happy it happened at home rather than at work.  these are again from my denali highway drive.  below are close ups on the tundra...always amazing in fall.
 anyway, i started to tear up, then cry and i just couldn't stop...hours went by and still those tears kept coming.  i'm not a crier and i didn't feel sad or down.  it was simply a release of all the stress i'd been holding since that bear woke me up.  i'm of the generation of be tough and not to let your emotions show.  another girl gene i guess i missed...maybe it was the influence of all those brothers, i had 5.  if you showed weakness, well, you just didn't. i was also taught to be extremely independent and the truth is we all need other humans from time to time.
 some of us get by without them more often.  you have to understand that since i met this bear i had no physical, real time interaction with anyone i knew.  it was all just phone and texts.  i needed a hug, i needed reassurance, i needed to feel i was really heard and understood.  i think getting around friends in real time just became critical for me.
 i reached out...and thankfully there are a lot of people in my life that are willing to do what is needed.  happy to do what is needed.  amy met me for a walk with the dogs.  we saw no bears, just loads of moose.  i got a hug, i had someone to listen and support me.  thanks amy!!  gail came by later and just sat with me and we ordered out food.  thank you gail as well.
 i am grateful for the texts and phone calls and kind words on facebook as well.
 today i needed contact.  anytime we experience a trauma our bodies protect us to some extend.  our brains go into a mode that saves us from feeling.  saves us from feeling anything really.  eventually, that protection wears off though and we are left with the truth of what we have been through.  we are raw.  for some, this happens in a few hours or days.  for some who have had long and continued trauma's or extreme trauma's this protection may not wear off for months of years.  i suppose some have trauma's so bad that the body just takes the memory of it and encapsulates it forever really.
 i didn't time how long i was fighting off this bear, trying to keep him from coming into my car and possibly killing me.  i suspect though that the whole incident lasted less than 10 min, maybe less than 5 minutes. time moves slowly.  you just react.
 i live in alaska, i'm outdoors a lot...i know that anyone who lives here and lives like i do will eventually have serious encounters.  this doesn't mean i enjoy them or look for them.  it still scares the shit out of me to have a bear trying to attack me or a moose coming down the trail at me.  it's terrifying to have the face of a glacier come down and deal with the huge waves that result from this.  it's terrifying to be in an airplane and have the captain say, "we are having a problem with the landing gear, listen to the flight attendants and prepare for a crash landing".  it's terrifying to be in a seemingly small boat with huge seas all around you.
 but this is the life i live, the risk i take.  that doesn't mean i take the dangerous situations lightly and am not impacted by them.
 i am also possibly not very good at expressing fear or weakness or terror even.  i remained calm, which probably gave some the impression that this was just one of those silly alaskan moments, that it really wasn't that big of a deal.  i'm not sure i know how to be any other way.
 this wasn't expected though.  this bear did not behave as one would expect a bear to behave.  you can't predict how bears will react totally but they do tend to back down and move on rather than deal with humans.  getting into an empty car is one thing, continuing to attempt to get into a car with a human and two dogs is not the normal.  continuing on in this when there is noise and honking... i knew i had a very determined and possibly desperate bear on my hands.  he was getting in.  it was just a matter of time.  that window was going to fail.
 people say they can smell bears.  i never have been able to.  i didn't that morning either.  he was inches from me and i don't remember any smells.  it was just a face and claws.
 there was just that one piece of glass between us.  that is not very comforting, especially when there is an inch gap opening and you see the bears claws catching on that gap.  you know he's going to be in the car with you at any moment.  you are thinking of everything you need to do to keep that from happening.  it doesn't feel real and yet it is real...horribly, terribly real.
 so today, i cried and couldn't stop.  i feel drained.  i haven't had any nightmares. i sleep great.  i have absolute peace in my sleep. i have seen that bears face in the window several times while i've been awake though.  a flash here or there.  he is still with me.
 i'm grateful that i have the chance to have a melt down.  there are so many other ways this could have gone. i could easily be dead, or seriously injured and hospitalized...if i'd been that lucky.  my dogs could have been hurt, killed or so scared they ran off into the woods to unknown fates.  so in the big picture a day spent bawling is no big deal.  it's what you have to do to get to the other side sometimes.
 life is to be lived.  they say it's better to have loved and lost, i say it's better to have lived and lost.  that is more inclusive.  i'll still take a grizzly bear trauma than many other trauma's that others in this world have endured, or must endure.
 rather not have it happen again though.
 i'm not looking forward to the next time i see a bear out there.  not sure how blossom will react either.  she does seem spooked still and is sticking close to me.  rio seems her usual self.
 i've no doubt my heart will beat a little faster when i hit a trail and see one of those bear warning signs.
 don't want to let this meeting with a rogue bear alter the person i am.  it will no doubt alter some of the ways i do things but do them i will.
 happy that it's near sleeping time for the bears though and hopefully after a long winter my fears and anxiety will have softened a bit.
 scenery like this is why i am here and why i do what i do.  this land, this place is amazing but it can sometimes come at a price.
 the rain is coming down outside.
 thinking it's time to plan a post bear party.  will have to think of a snappy name and invite people over.  try to make light of it all eventually.  laughter and time and friends...a healthy way to recover from the very bad day when i met a bear.

 don't think i've eaten very well these last few days so it was good to have a friend here and to actually eat.
 was laughing. i have often joked that if i was being attacked by a bear i would put my arse to it so that my saddle bags get eaten...thus giving me an excuse to have plastic surgery to restore my arse to a much more pleasant shape.  of course, this thought did not occur to me out there in the sourdough campground. i remain still a saddle bag sister.  

 other news out there.  a poor guy was attacked by a grizzly further north and is recovering in a hospital.  seems like a bad summer for flying in small planes up here.  so sad, several deaths out there.  my heart goes out to these people and what they must be going through.
 hoping a deal is being brokered with syria to just give up their chemical weapons, which who knows, was maybe the plan all along and they were just doing this get congress to ok a strike just to get leverage and convince this guy to just give up the chemicals.  we will see.
 the world drones on despite my little trauma and melt down.
 things much worse than a bear.

 and still i get to live here and enjoy all of this.
blossom leans on the window where just a few hours before madness had happened.  dogs move on quickly though i think. she's still her adorable self.  thanks for all the kind words and support.  hoping tomorrow will be a more normal day for me.


  1. See, I really need to keep up with my blogs better. I'm so sorry you had the need for a little melt down. Wish i were there to go out for a walk, coffee, and perhaps a drink.