The Long Solitary Journey of Tipi and Ursus arctos:
The Great Tibetan Grizzly
Every time I kill a bear I morn, I don’t really count the days, but no more than two, sometimes one, it is not a show of regret, the reason I do this, oh no, no, I have no regrets, or pleasure for the most part, I am a hunter, I eat to survive like all people do; wait a minute, I do have pleasure, for the moment, it is a recompense, yes, yes, that is what it is. I’d rather kill a bear than a rabbit: no joy out of such a light kill as a rabbit, only meat: rabbit meat: but it tastes ok; not great, not like bear. But back to the bear, to survive you must be more powerful than the bear, or wiser. When I kill the bear he has a blue tongue that protrudes between his teeth, and he will collapse on the ice. I kill him noiselessly, and like a ghost and sadly I observe his outstretched body. I am one of the few, no, no: I am the only one now who kills the bears on the ‘Great Solo Hunt.’ And the only one I know of who jumps onto the back of the bear and kills him: the old way, the way it should be done: the way it used to be done: it is a blood hunt often times.
I am not dark-skinned, lighter than my native kith and kin, but I have cold blood, and the bear is warm and hungry, and brown, the one I am looking for, as blinding as snow can be, I never miss him, when he is around, I can spot him, I always spot him: calm and starry he is; almost sleepy at times when I spot him. But again he is no match for me. I will kill him in many ways. This bear is strong and can take an animal or man and swing him like a bird and throw him far distances. I have seen this happen. The bear can take gigantic leaps, and can disengage himself: trembling and fear go with those who see this bear, he runs like the wind, but me, not me, I do not tremble or fear him: tell nobody but God, that is what I say. His claws are sharp and can dig many inches through ice if need be to make an escape, or dig a hole and grab a seal for dinner. Yes, oh yes, he can do this in a matter of minutes, perhaps seconds if need be, in an utterly silent way; and if the ice is thin, quicker than seconds: one grab through the ice will do it. I have seen how some of the hunters have many dogs and they surround a bear who cannot escape, then, thenyet I tell them all, this is the time to be careful, for they have been bitten in such events, even a small bear can be dangerous. You should know the bear-spirit does not lie down and die because he sees dogs or a hunter, he explodes inside, he will not skedaddle: -nor move over because you say so. He goes back and forth, back and forth, back and forth: makes you dizzy, makes you lose your way. Moreover, after roaming aimlessly you die not the bear, in a frozen stance, by a cliff, or plateau: in the blizzard you didn’t notice was coming because the bear got you dizzy
my father was a white man, my mother an Eskimo. They are both dead now, he was an Arctic explorer: she, oh yes yes yes: she was a Thule woman; she was born to the Arctic, in Greenland. I am her only child: she carried me in her amaaq, this was me. I remember her well; she had long hair, thick to the skull. Wore a necklace made of walrus ivory. Many little things were on it, little figurines that represented her life: such as the igloo, the woman, kayak, walrus, the dog, salmon, the bear, and seal.
She would say,
“Tipi, are you ok back there?” and as I’d feel her back and the warmth of the fur around me, I’d touch her shoulders to let her know I was, I was ok, alright, I was safe for her not to worry, or have her hand feeling for me, poking me in the eyes accidentally: you know, that kind of stuff.
This is my given name, –this is one thing the bear didn’t know, the Great Grizzly. As I was raised like most in the Arctic, a native, I was never touched harmfully by my mother, or father, never disciplined in a physical way. It is the native way, the Arctic’s way. Often times my tribe: the one I used to belong to, but I have left them since adulthood, would allow other tribes to take wives from other camps, or tribes, if you willno real husbands and for a while, well, for a while none really belonging to any certain person or forever, if that makes sense. It was the way it had to be. Or we would have no tribe, we would die out. And so a woman may end up with a stranger from another tribe. And children were very precious: indeed they were; I have slept with woman, I have never had a wife, or chose a special woman to remain with: and thus, I must assume I may have children in a few tribes. In their summer tents, I would make love to them. Listen to the drum song [Ingmerneq]. I think a bear would like to sleep with a woman if he could steal her long away enough. They have secret spirits inside of them. I have not seen a bear harm a woman, no, not ever: maybe that is why. They are close to our ancestors you know: but I could be wrong, maybe a bad spirit makes me think that a bear would sleep with a woman.
But once I was learning how to make water, you put three great stones together and a heap of snow on top. Under the main top stone you put another one under that, make a fire, and slant the upper roof stone, so when the water drains, it will drain downward to the container, and fill it with water. A great white bear came: he stood no more than twenty feet from me: a flood of thoughts filled my brain: voices in my brain were muffled, as if I was in one room, a jail perhaps, and I couldn’t think: muffled, yes, my brain was stifled: I was with, with my mother: I was but ten years of age. The bear lay down, eyes cast upon my mother, and she continued to show me the pail full of water. And she said:
“Sjorfaa!” and the bear left her. But my spirit doesn’t connect with the bear like that. It wants to kill it. Conquer it. Why? You tell me; it is who I am, that is the best I can say, or do, do for such a question:
bear, bear, which do you, think you are [?] – You are dead
I have killed many bears with furious hatches, knives, and used sharpened stones to keep them deadly. I learned from the Canadian Eskimos when I was young the many forms of hatches they had, therefore I could select which one I needed and which one would work best for me, that is the one I’d select. They were what I called Polar Eskimos; –they knew very little about wood, but the whalers and the Thule traded information.
Death to helplessness, to the born and the dying, the aged, for first you are born, –helpless, which is natural, are we not? and by way of instincts, we say to ourselves: we must smile, or cry to get our way, to survive You must learn who is your mother and father, for the bear can fool you and say he is, when he is hungry, and you do not know the difference, and you willingly go to him, and he devours you You have done this bear haven’t you? oh yes, he has
we don’t even know what we look like, only what we see: tell nobody but God, and have no trembling or fear, he will not if you do: when they see you, the door swings shut inside their hearts So we think we are like the bear. Then you grow old and again you are like the old grizzly, the polar, the panda, the Russian bear-Tamens, they like to play; but in all cases, they grow old, weak, tired: like we do: the only think that can travel faster than a bear is the smell of deathor the blood hunt, the smell of a blood. And even the dremo the Tibetan Grizzly [also known as Ursus arctos], he may be the exception, for I have looked for him for twenty-years, but only oneit is he, the Great One
I have never known a person to have seen a Tibetan Grizzly other than my family, to include my father, grandfather, my uncle, my mother and myself, but that is the heritage of the “Great Grizzly”; has in us, in his veins, he has chosen us to be his destroyer, as he has been ours, me. He is as tall as a mountain, and as strong as the ice. He has no equal, no fear of death, for he is death; Ursus arctos.
See Dennis’ travels at Http://dennissiluk.tirpod.com