Reply To: Encounter in the Wild from an LH/RH Perspective

  • Jeff Verge

    January 12, 2023 at 2:52 am

    Yes wholeheartedly agree, this is clarifying. I am learning new things about my experience, new connections and so on. You touch on a lot of thoughts, I’ll try to hit a few.

    I expect you’re right about synthesis. It’s coming on 5 months since my encounter, and ever since I started telling the story, and especially putting this RH/LH version here, I find I have to work to reacquire my sense memory of it. The told version struggles to replace the memory, and to become the memory, even though the told version leaves out quite a lot. But there was so much more going on, it’s as if I have to access my body’s sense memories rather than my mind’s reconstructions to even glimpse any part of the totality. I have no science to back it up, but I’d suggest that bodily aspects of memory reveal themselves as closer to the original experience than do mental reconstructions of that same experience.

    One thing I left out of my story, I was conscious of wanting to remember everything, by being as fully in the moment as I could be. I didn’t want to film it, I wanted it burned-in to my memory. And I was surprised by how much of a body experience it was, which I still use as a check against my more mental representations and pictorial memories. Not sure if that helps, just putting it out there.

    I’m a huge admirer of Indigenous ways of knowing, so I thought about how I would put it to your friend of Lakota medicine. I think I had the opportunity to practice respect and communication. I had so much respect for her, as if she was more than just a bear, she was an emissary of the entire forest, which I’d just spent the whole day soaking in. I passed on her first attempt to communicate with sound, but she wasn’t having it and switched to body language, with which I was able to communicate with her. Feeling that connection with her and earning her respect was amazing. I hope I always remember, inasmuch as that’s ever possible.

    Something else I left out of the story. When I first got to the place where we’d meet, I thanked the bears out loud for forcing me up the mountain. This was my third and last ever attempt to get to the top, and they made it easier by cutting off my retreat. Then after they passed I thanked her silently for that intimate moment of respectful connection, and a memory with shamanist echoes in deep time to carry on my ascent to a clear night of stargazing. So to round it out I’ll call it all virtues of gratitude, respect and communication.

    I think about my sandwiches too, from the bear’s perspective. They could be the most amazing smell she ever knew. They were seriously delicious, and even more so after defending them.