Have I ever mentioned that I’m afraid of bears? As in terrified? No, well let me.
Depending upon your age, you may or may not remember the glory days of television which included such things as “snow”, “color test bars” and “signing off”. Yes, I’m talking primarily of television in the 1970s, aka the era of Gilligan’s Island, Hawaii 5-O, and Walter Cronkite. (God, those were some good times. Oh yeah, and Good Times.)
My passion for history, literature, and anthropology means I am fascinated by the often subtle depiction of society by its chroniclers. In other words, books reflect the issues going on when the writer wrote them. There is a reason books from the 1800s no longer resonate as strongly with today’s average readers–we are facing different challenges. In addition, I love how television and film visually portray the issues and angst of the times. (This is an aside, but please read the Fragments of Life guest post by Ilsa Bick, author of upcoming Ashes to read a very strong explanation of such things. Oh, and by the way, buy her book when it comes out.) Do you remember all the worry of the 1970s? Queuing up for gas? Nuclear holocaust drills? It was a time of great pendulum swings between free love and the Red Scare. And it was a time of really, really bad television movies about animals gone insane and killing humans.
And one tv movie, I believe called something like “Grizzly” and which had Kevin Tighe as a park ranger, scarred me so much that I can still hear the growls of that damned beast in my nightmares.
Yes, I believe that movie must have done something to my young psyche. Namely, opened some past-life death-by-bear experience. I’m that frightened of bears.
Since childhood I’ve been having nightmares about bear attacks, although the last one was a few years ago. In it, the bear opened my back door (in my dreams, bears are very dextrous) and was attempting to kill me. My husband, who was running across the tops of the wall-to-wall bookshelves in our living room, instructed me to simply follow his lead (it was very Hidden Tiger, Crouching Dragon-esque). When I queried, “but what if I can’t do that?” his response was “then prepare to meet your fate.”
So what does this and a steaming pile of pancakes have to do with anything?
We are creatures striving to make meaning out of our worlds. Either through our dreams or our cultural mores, we try to make sense of the people and events in our lives. In my case, I am forever running from a bear that is bigger, stronger and smarter than myself, always waking just before the beast’s jaws close upon my flesh. And apparently, I don’t think my husband is particularly helpful at times.
I can only hope that the fact its been a few years since my last death-by-bear nightmare means I’m somehow working through what is bothering me. Or, it could mean that I’ve simply stopped watching nightmare-inducing television.