Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bear Ancestry

I think I must have some bear in my family tree somewhere.

I vaguely remember reading a scifi book back in the 60s where the author wrote about some semi-cat creatures; not quite human, but more than a normal cat. They had been created in a laboratory to-- Well, my memory fails me, but it made sense in the book. And, of course, there's also stories about mermaids, centaurs, werewolves – all those creatures that are not quite animal, not quite human.

So, the idea of having some non-human ancestors isn't that shocking to me. And this thought – that I must have some bear in my family tree – came up last week. The weather's turning cold, the days short and dim, and I found myself becoming surly, eating everything in sight, and spending my time longing for my nice warm bed. Yes, I wanted to hibernate! So I started thinking about great-great-grandpa. What kind of bear am I related to?

Probably not polar bear, because I REALLY hate extended cold weather. And now that I've mulled it over for a while, my sluggish mind has realized that bears are not the only animal that hibernates, so maybe great-great-grandpa wasn't a bear. Squirrel? No, I don't think so. Even on my best days, even in my youth, I didn't do much frolicking around or chattering away. No, I think my gait is a little closer to a bear's amble, more deliberate, you know? And if I'm faced with a problem, I'm likely to worry it a bit, break it down into pieces in search for tasty grubs. Wait. I prefer nuts to grubs.

Still, I'm thinking I've got more bear in me than squirrel. What about you? If one of your ancestors was an animal, what type? Which of your habits and behaviors point to that relationship? Occasionally, a writer compares a person to some animal, so I'm not the only one to think in this direction. To me, this type of 'exercise' is just one more aspect of writing that can be great fun.

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