Root Bear

Eustice dropped his bulldozer’s blade and squinted through drizzle where I pointed.

“See it?”

“Nah… Oh, wait… A-yuh!”

A good-sized black bear hunkered on its haunches staring at us, motionless. Eustice flipped the bulldozer’s kill switch and twisted in his seat to get a better look.

He shook his head. “Not movin’ a dite…”

I often tripped over Eustice’s Maine accent and colloquialisms, but this time I got it. Not a single hair on this bear rustled in the breeze.

Eustice’s hand hovered over the button to restart the dozer. I stood on the dozer track gazing down the hill, too. The bear glared back.

“You shuah that’s a beah?”

“I think so,” I whispered.

For days Eustice and I had been ripping up stumps and cutting firewood. The bear appeared at our noisy, muddy woodlot, an hour or so before we shut down for the night.

The longer I gazed at the stoic bruin, the more my imagination rambled: It must be a sow, disgusted with our diesel fumes; her cubs probably hid nearby; we had ruined her den; she was hoping that we strayed from the dozer, and…

Neither of us could tear our eyes away–waiting for our “beah” to scratch or wiggle an ear–to confirm she was real. Then–like a phantom–the creature dematerialized! Her face turned to dirt clods and her torso morphed into a glob of roots.

Thoroughly duped, Eustice and I grinned at one another sheepishly. The old Mainer stomped the ignition, and his dozer roared awake.

“Chout foah (watch out for) the beahs roun’ heah!” Eustice laughed–and so did I.

Is your bear problem genuine or imagined? Often we stare at trouble with such intense imagination that it appears real–though it’s an illusion. The “bear” vanishes when we overcome anxiety in our hearts, and refocus on God’s promise:

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. (Isa. 54:10)

Cast all your anxiety upon him; for he cares for you. (I Peter 5:7)

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