My grandmother was not generally the story-teller in the family. She left that to my grandfather, who wove fantastic, make-believe tales for his seven grandchildren until the day he died.
A no-nonsense type of woman, her stories were usually more fact than fiction. Stories like the one about her brother’s dog who’d dropped her first litter of puppies all over the yard as she wandered, dazed and confused, one summer day. According to my grandmother, some females in every species had maternal instinct, and some clearly didn’t. The puppy-dropping mother dog was proof.
When she wasn’t baking or imparting her particular brand of wisdom, what my grandmother loved best was picking berries. She knew that bears loved blueberry patches, too, and knew that the most dangerous place for a human to find herself was between a mother bear and her cub.
The recent news story about the three-year old boy in North Carolina who went missing in the woods and was found alive in thick underbrush several days later has me thinking not only about maternal instinct, but also miracles. After his rescue, the child is reported to have told his parents that he’d “hung out” with a bear. There is no proof that this happened. There is no proof that it didn’t happen, either.
An Angel can look like anything if she puts her mind to it. Maybe his was dressed like a bear. Or maybe his rescuers found him just in the nick of time. Maybe another day exposed to the elements would have been too much for the small boy. Maybe it was a miracle.
I believe that there are mysteries we humans aren’t supposed to be able to solve.
I believe in instinct, maternal and otherwise.
But mostly, today, I believe that if there really was a bear keeping that boy safe, that it was definitely a mama one.