November 6, 2009
I was wandering around in the dark forest, breathing in the cool, crisp scent of the cold, spring ground. The crunching of leaves left over from last fall, echoed through the forest, and the moon over head was round and grinning. I was searching frantically for Momma. I haven’t seen her since yesterday when she told me to run from the tall, hairless creature.

“Momma,” I began to call through the forest in my special, bear tongue. My voice echoed through the forest in harmony with the sound of crunching leaves. “Momma, where are you?” There wasn’t a response.

I was growing more frantic. I stopped walking, and scanned the forest. A bush in the distance began to shake, at the same time I heard the thud, thud, thud of the approaching creature’s footsteps. They were too heavy to be Momma’s. I began to move quickly, driven by my fear of bigger creatures of the forest. I struggled to dodge trees and carefully go past fallen branches. I some how managed to trip over a tree’s roots in my haste.

There was something up ahead that caught my eye. It looked like a bear, about the size of Momma. Could it be Momma? I thought. I pushed my self to move faster breaking out into a sprint, not caring if I was whipped in the face by branches. Not caring if I cut myself on a rock and began to bleed. If it was Momma, it wouldn’t matter. She was the only thing that mattered right now. As long as she is gone she will be the only thing that matters, even if it takes me my entire life to find her.

I broke through the trees, only to find myself in a clearing. It was strange here. Like nothing I’ve ever seen before, with so many strange objects, that had weird smells. Then I saw what I thought was Momma. It was a mountain of dirt shaped to look like a bear. If she’s not here, where is she? Why can’t I find her? I was getting frustrated with myself. I’m her only son and I can’t even find her.

I smelled the crisp, spring, night air, the sniff, sniff, sniff of my nose breaking the midnight silence. The air smelt of sweaty, dirty, vile hairless creatures… and a lot of them. I could smell the strong tobacco, and blood of the hairless creature from the field. Then something shocked me. There was another scent I recognized…the smell of Momma’s blood. The smell of my momma’s blood was fresh. It was unbearable, the scent was so strong… too strong. Momma couldn’t be dead… she just couldn’t. Momma is strong. Momma is invincible. I’ve seen her fight many creatures and never get hurt. She just couldn’t be gone. I didn’t even get to say good-bye. Tears began to stream from my eyes, and my sniffing was from a different cause this time.

No! I won’t believe it. I shook my head in disbelief. I wiped the tears from my face with my paw. I will look for her until I find her. I began to call for her again, louder then before. I heard a movement in the night. I turned around to see a small, odd shaped cave. I didn’t know there were caves in clearings. I took one step forward to investigate. A light came on within the cave. Suddenly a creature began to emerge. My stomach told me it was time to leave, that something bad was about to happen. I couldn’t move, though. My muscles locked into place. I was frozen with fear. What now? I thought. If something happened to me who would find Momma? It sure wouldn’t be Papa.

The creature’s hairless paw came out first, then its partially hairless head. It made a strange noise as its mouth opened wide and shut quickly. Then it looked around the clearing until it spotted me, as stiff as a rock. Its eyes locked with mine and a strange expression crossed his face. I could see in its eyes the mixture between revenge and happiness. I couldn’t comprehend it. Why would it want revenge on me? Then I remembered the day before in the field when I escaped. I felt my eyes grow wide, and my body began to tremble. It was going to hurt me, but still I could not move.

It came out of the cave with something long and shiny in its other hairless paw. I could smell Momma’s blood on the object that reminded me of a stick. Only it had a thicker end and a hole going through it. The object smelt worse than the hairless creature. It smelt worse then bear dung.

The creature pulled the stick up so it was in front of their face and aimed it at me. I don’t know how long we stood there like that. It could have been forever for all I knew. At some point though I sensed the severity of the danger and my muscles unlocked. Then my body thawed out, and I turned and began to run.

There was a loud bang and something whizzed past my face, and hit a distant tree with a loud crack! I heard the muffled odd tongued voice of the hairless creature and clicking noises followed by more bangs. I ran through the dark forest, breathing heavily in the cool, crisp scent of the spring air.

I never stopped looking for Momma. The search had taken me all over the forests and even into hairless creature territory. I thought I had found her many times, but it never really was her. I just couldn’t seem to find her no matter how hard I searched, and part of me wanted to give up. I kept on trudging along, though. I made a promise to her and myself that I would find her. In fact I was still looking for her when I followed the peaceful sound of a water spring right to a bear and her cubs. I was in an unfamiliar forest, but she looked sort of familiar, so I took one step forward, and she moved in front of her cubs and gave me a low, fierce, warning growl. I could tell she was fighting the urge to bare her teeth.

Her growl carried over the spring and echoed off the mountains. I bowed my head to show I didn’t mean any harm, like I’ve done many times before. I could smell the air, sweet and clean from the wild flowers and massive trees, but crisp from the stream. The wind blew slightly bringing a dulled smell of maple from the distant mountain forest.

She stopped growling, understanding that I just wanted a better look. I stepped closer, and her body became tense. I could feel the dew left over from early morning under my feet. I could hear the bird fall silent in the trees. I took another step forward and noticed her jaw move slightly and her breathing became more stressed, otherwise she was calm. I smelled the air around her. She smelled like wild flowers, berries, and apples. I luxuriated in the familiar smell of the forest that surrounded her making me long for my own forest, and its similar but different smell. I had focused on the bear.

When I looked at her again I noticed that she had I deep wound in her front right leg that reminded me of something I had seen awhile ago. I must have failed to notice her limp in front of her kids. I got closer. I realized I was pushing it when she began to growl, again. It was fiercer than before, more threatening and urgent. It didn’t matter. I had an odd feeling I knew this bear… that she was Momma who I spent the last three years looking for. Then I remembered that I’ve been in this situation before. I could nearly get myself killed by infuriating this female bear.

The wind picked up long enough to blow her scent in my face again. She smelled like the Momma I remember. She looked like the Momma I remember. Was it worth it though if she wasn’t? If she wasn’t my mom I wouldn’t know what to do. This journey is getting more exhausting for every fake Momma I see. I think I’m loosing my drive, and I am ashamed of myself for that. I’m the only one who would look for her… and part of me wanted to give up. I have to find out if she’s Momma, though. My promise is keeping me going, telling me that it wouldn’t hurt to check.

I took one more step. Her growl became louder; it made my ears feel like they were going to bleed. I didn’t move. The promise told me to stand my ground. I just stared at her with the full extent of my determination in my eyes. That only made her growl louder. I still didn’t move. She stood up on her hind legs and growled again. Towering over me she was like the great oak trees on the mountain. I looked up at her, I wasn’t going to move. She pulled her paw back and flashed her claws. She leaned forward. She pulled her arm back farther. She sent it forward…

I backed up. Her paw nearly hit my face. That’s when I noticed something that made it impossible for it to be her and saved my life…. She was only slightly older than me. Momma was an older bear when I was born. She was considered an elder. This bear wasn’t her. Before when I would find a fake Momma, a wave of disappointment and depression would wash over me. Now I feel nothing. I’ve gotten used to it so I don’t feel it anymore. I was emotionless.

I backed away, bowing my head and begging for forgiveness. She looked surprised, but got down on all fours again. I apologized to the bear for bothering her, and she turned and walked away, her cubs tumbling along after her. Though she wasn’t Momma, that didn’t mean I was giving up. It wasn’t the first time I came across a false Momma, and I didn‘t think it would be the last.

Not Momma, I thought. But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up. I will find you Momma…I promise. I will find you not only for you… but for me as well. It is the most important thing to me right now… the most important thing until you are found. I must find you…that is what I’m most sure of.

The sun was bright over head. The spring flowed over the shiny rocks making rainbows across the grass, playing a lovely water tune. The wind brought down the clean smell of the mountain adding its own notes. The buzzing of bees in the flower supplied rhythm to my interesting song. I shared a look of determination with the landscape and began my journey, heading off back into the dark forest, breathing in the cool, crisp scent of the cold, spring ground with the endless nature song playing.

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