On the precipice above the valley, Bear stood firm on her four stocky and strong legs. As the sun rose in the east, the moon loomed over the shoulder of Bear in the west.
Without looking, Bear could sense the moon’s presence. Feeling both happiness and anxiety, Bear’s gigantic paws kneaded the earth, her claws out, scratching the rock. Quickly Bear glanced behind her to affirm the moon was indeed there in the sky behind her.
Bear enjoyed the sun, but preferred the moonlight. However, something seemed out of the ordinary, unusual, and an odd sensation rippled through her, emerging as quickly as it vanished like a pebble hitting the creek.
As the sun completed it’s transition over the horizon, Bear wondered whether she would live to see the day when the sun did not rise. Although, she did not worry about the future, Bear knew it was her responsibility to know when day would not arrive.
This thought made her stand on her hind legs, exhale a roar, twist, trot, and begin her journey to the valley below.
While Bear travelled downward, she could clearly sense that she was not alone. The crick-crack of a branch and the minor tumbling of loose rock, stopped Bear in her tracks, prompted her to pause and look carefully around.
A snake slipped quickly out of sight. A caterpillar inched on the leaf of a bush. The ants marched in a seemingly non-distinct pattern. A bee nestled into the cave of a flower. The hum of the river below echoed gently onward.
Life teemed everywhere. Bear knew she could not always see the activity of life, but there was nothing visible to explain the break of the branch and the shift of the earth. She knew she was not alone and sensed a mysterious presence.
Patient and curious, Bear stood still, waited, and listened more carefully. Bear detected a faint breath. “You’re behind the rock,” Bear said. “It’s safe to make yourself known. There’s no reason to hide.”
“Greetings Bear,” Cat responded in a low voice, emerging slowly. Off balance Cat stumbled, crumpled, and lay on her side.
“Don’t move, Cat. Stay where you are,” Bear said approaching. Bear gazed into Cat’s large and glistening eyes, then circled Cat slowly - once, twice, thrice.
“Cat,” Bear said. “This is the end.”
Cat nodded and said. “The beginning.”
“The merging,” Bear and Cat spoke the words in unison.
Bear placed her paw softly on Cat’s cheek. Both Bear and Cat were silent. The earth tremored. All creation set into a swirling motion; the rain, sleet, wind, the sun, the moon and stars revolved in a dizzy and dazzling burst of darkness and light.
Their eyes closed peacefully, Bear and Cat heard a flock of crows swooping, circling, and dispersing. Two remaining crows fluttered above in the air, descended. One crow rested on Bear, the other crow rested on Cat.
Flapping furiously, closer, the two crows became one. As Bear and Cat dissolved into a shimmery mist, Crow rose from the ground, singing above the sacred land.
Swiftly, Crow continued the journey to the valley to deliver the message of Bear and Cat.
In honor and loving memory of my Grandfather, Bert Sweigart (1915 - 2004).