How Bear Dancing Got His Name

There once was a bear. He was born blind. His name was 'Blind Bear'.

The joy of Blind Bear was his strength and courage. His front paws were large and his forelegs powerful. When Blind Bear stood on his back legs he towered up, way high.
The sadness of Blind Bear came from feeling alone. He could hear the others. Blind Bear would stumble around alone, near his house.
Sometimes he would find something to join in. He could bust open a honey log better than most. Once, he heard a lion stalking a small cub. Blind Bear stood and roared, and that lion ran away. Blind Bear did not chase him, because his was blind. Blind Bear just stood there and listened. He listened until the sound of that lion crashing through the forest was far, far away.
That's how Blind Bear lived his life: close to home, sometimes happy, sometimes sad. Often he felt nothing at all.

One day Blind Bear woke up, and knew his name was now 'Bear Dancing'.

He pondered this new name, 'Bear Dancing'. Bear Dancing saw, in his mind's eye, a blind bear dancing cautiously.

The bear was very large, very strong, and very fast. The bear was dancing. His dancing looked strange. It was not funny strange. It was not sickly strange. It was strange, strange. It was disconcerting strange. It was I'll-come-back-tomorrow-because-it's-sure-to-be-good strange. It was could-be-getting-better-could-be-a-disaster strange. It was hard-to-figure-the-odds strange. It was strange strange. It was strange.

The joy of Bear Dancing was his growng strength and weight and agility. He laughed like a three year old who just whistled his first whistle.<ref>Ask Zaynab</ref> Bear Dancing danced for joy.

The fear of Bear Dancing was hurting his fellow dancers. So, he danced cautiously. This disrupted the circle. So he was more careful. The circle fell apart. Bear Dancing heard the others whispering. He thought: "they sure must be talking about me and my clumsy dancing."

The shame of Bear Dancing was a big wall between his strength and his mission. It was big. He threw his weight against it. It didn't budge. He jumped against it. He smacked up against that wall, and fell to the ground. He was mad.

The anger of Bear Dancing was when he spoke of his blindness, yet nobody listened, nobody believed. Someone tried to tell him he was not really blind, that he could see if he just tried a little harder! Bear Dancing's anger was real hot. He held out his paw with some blueberries on it. They steamed, and sizzled, they popped open. They burned to a crisp. Bear Dancing wiped his paw. He was so tired from being angry. He was weary to the bone. The anger was gone. He felt sad.

The sadness of Bear Dancing was world-embracing, as big as the whole earth. And yet, it felt light on his shoulders. Light! He was surprised. Bear Dancing was astonished. He laughed: a big long, loud, belly laugh. The laugh carried through the forest. He heard others starting to laugh. You could laughter all over that forest.

And with that Bear Dancing got up from his bed, and Bear Dancing danced.

(c) Larry Kenneth Gates, 2010

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