Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Touch Test (StoredStory #12)

I am one of those people who have to feel the texture of objects. Whenever I am in a store with fabrics, I touch many of the ones I pass. I am tactile, perhaps a kinesthetic learner and sensor of the world around me.

This propensity started at a young age, probably way before I ever remember. But, the earliest memory of my kinesthetic longings, if recounted with my mom, would send her blood pressure soaring even to this day.

We were enjoying a cool, early summer day in Cades Cove, part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We lived close, so Cades Cove was often a weekend retreat.

As often happens at Cades Cove, whenever there is wildlife spotted, everyone stops. Time sort of slows down into this sorghum stream, and people take notice of their surroundings. To get around the main points of Cades Cove, you have to drive an eleven-mile, one-way loop. There are many stop offs, but whenever there is a sighting of some sort, there is usually a traffic backup.

On this particular day, a throng of nature-lovers had all joined the sorghum stream and took notice of something in one of the meadows. A fence sliced us off from the meadow. Against the fence tall grasses had grown up just enough where I could not see what was going on because of my five-year-old height.

I was in the middle of the road, among the gawkers with their cameras. I've always kind of had a dreamer quality where I just stand in my surroundings and don't notice the immediate activity around me. I had sunk into one of these musing moments and failed to see that the people had parted as though Moses had struck his rod against the pavement.

I was on one side of the parting, and my parents were on the other. Then, the thing that people had gathered to see emerged from the tall grasses and went under the barb wire. He had a dead fawn in his mouth. The fawn's white speckles of youth sagged on the limp body. The brown fur of the grizzly bear holding the fawn poked out in places. I stood right at the edge of the part in the road as the bear made his way across.

I joined the sorghum time and watched the bear walk as though he were in slow motion. His body was within a foot of mine, and so I did what any curious child might do. I stuck out my hand and felt the fur on the back of the bear.

Now, I'm sure my mom 'had a duck' (what she sometimes likes to call a fit). But, in that brief moment, I learned what a bear felt like. And, the bear didn't seem to mind.

No comments:

Post a Comment