Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gift of a Grizzly

Thursday, May 28, I was one week into a trip with four friends I known for nearly 40 years. We had already seen countless splendors – rainforest in Vancouver, majestic mountains, waterfalls, eagles, elk, osprey, black bears. 

That Thursday was the first day we crossed the apex (we would cross it several times as our bus route wound up and down mountain roads) a point from which water flows in three directions – to the Pacific, the Arctic and the Atlantic.

Just before lunch we had walked on the Columbia glacier – marveled at the pale blue water of its melting and were appalled by the fact that it (like other glaciers) was only a fraction of its earlier size … an ending supply of water for North America.

Moving on down the Icefield Parkway on a day that had already overwhelmed us with beauty, someone on our bus spotted the grizzly.

Mike, our driver-guide, pulled to the side of the road. Everyone watched in wonder as the awesome creature moved closer. Just out of hibernation, he kept his head down, feeding, while trotting toward the highway – so big, so graceful – golden in the afternoon sun.

What a gift – to glimpse his magnificence.

The waning hope of this planet is that, somehow, glaciers and grizzlies endure.

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