The Mothers

“Mother grizzly and cub
seen in the area.
Cinnamon mother, black cub.
Repeated sightings
at Wonder Pass
and Assiniboine Lodge.
Never approach wild animals.
Extreme caution is advised
when using trails.”

“Stay together.”
I tell my kids,
my voice urgent.
“Bears are dangerous,
especially a mama.
No running ahead.
If we meet the bears,
get right behind me
and stay calm.”

Excited, they hope
to see the bears,
blithely trusting
my judgment.
I act calm.
I am terrified.

With each step
I list the stupid things
reckless mothers do.
I weigh danger
against lessons
about fear or courage,
ponder statistics on risk:
car accidents versus mauling.

We avoid the Lodge,
hike trails far from Wonder Pass,
pause at a hillside,
where gopher holes
have been churned up
by small backhoes of bear paws.
Narrow stretches of trail
meander through dense forest.
We step around
warm bear scat.
As shadows watch us,
our hair stands up,
goose bumps shiver our skin,
suddenly even the
sunlight menaces.
Miles from the cabin
we quicken our pace,
sing louder.

Stay close.
Humans are dangerous,
especially with young ones.”
chuffs mama bear
to her nervous cub.
Its black nose tickled
by foreign scent
of bug spray, granola bar,
sweaty child.
Ears flick
at the passing avalanche of noise,
voices, bells, squeaky raincoats.
Muscles tense,
the bears blend into bark,
watch warily.

~ Dymphny Dronyk

Dymphny Dronyk is a writer, artist, mediator and mother. She is passionate about the magic of story and has woven words for money (journalism, corporate writing) and for love (poetry, fiction, drama, mystery novels) for over 25 years. After years of rambling on an eclectic career path (camp cook, editor, waitress, photographer), her gypsy spirit took root in the Peace Country and her energy is now directed towards raising her 3 children and running her business (Dynamic Data Complete Emergency Response Planning).

Her first volume of poetry, Contrary Infatuations, was published by Frontenac House as part of Quartet 2007. “The Mothers” is part of Dymphny’s current project, a series of poems about Mt. Assiniboine.

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