When a message comes we should listen
It was early as Pompee walked along the rivers edge. He knew he should have went out with the hunting party but something told him he should not go this day. He did not, yet, understand why.
It was a beautiful, crisp fall morning and the surroundings were awash with a golden glow. Yellow, red and orange leaves danced in the breeze and sparkled in the sun. He felt the warmth from the sun on his shoulder as it rose above the hillside.
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He stopped to get a cool drink from the river. As he bent, he noticed a reflection off to his left. Two young children were playing sticks. They had not noticed him yet. He thought it was not good that they were unaware of how close he was. Paying to much attention to their game and not enough to their surroundings.
He rose slowly and quietly. Just as he began to move toward the children one of them finally spotted him. “Aho” spoke the youngster, nervously. It was obvious to Pompee they had been taken by surprise. He frowned and told them they needed to be more mindful of their surroundings. They nodded in agreement as they glanced around, hoping to assure Pompee that they would be more mindful. It made him smile in remembrance of his own youth.
He stepped past the children and continued his walk as his thoughts drifted off to another recent encounter. Two days earlier he had walked in this same area only to run into an elder grizzly bear. As with the children, he had let down his guard while deep in thought. He smiled again. He must remember his own warnings. There had been no confrontation as both he and bear went their separate ways on that day.
He moved on with a feeling of un ease. Again, thinking about not going with the hunting party and wondering why he felt compelled to miss it. He reached his favorite spot. A large, smooth boulder sat near the river. He seated himself and rested his back against the boulder. It was warm from the sun. Perhaps he should have consulted his uncle. He may have the answer to Pompee’s reluctance to attend the hunt this day. He drifted off.
He heard a grunt and Pompee realized that the old grizzly bear was back. It sat directly across from him – not 10 feet away. Fear gripped him, but he knew better than to move. He was way to close to make an escape and also to close to use his bow. Pompee slowly slid his hand over his sheathed knife in anticipation of what might come next. But, the old bear did not move. Just sat as if human while looking right at Pompee.
The bear reminded him of his old Grandfather. When Pompee was a youngster he would go to this Grandfather for a story or for a suggestion about something. His Grandfather would sit across from him and stare for a long time before talking.
Suddenly the fear that had grabbed Pompee when he first heard the bear huff, left him. And then he felt a different fear as a message came to him. You did not go on the hunt for good reason. Go back to the children NOW.
Pompee jumped with a start. Had he been dreaming? Where was the bear? There was no sign of him. Not sure if he was awake or asleep he took off running back down the river bank in the direction he had seen the children. He did not realize how far he had walked after passing the youngsters. Where were they? Just then he heard a scream and it moved him faster.
As he came around the bend in the trail he saw one child on the bank screaming. The other had fallen into the river and was going under water. In a flash, Pompee was in the river. The current was strong and the child was struggling in the cold, fast water. Pompee reached and got an arm. In seconds they were both back on shore. The other child was crying with a mixture of fear and joy.
After everyone calmed down, Pompee gave the scared, wet child the once over to make sure he was fine. They rested awhile and then he lead them back to camp.
He reflected as they walked. Had he been asleep and dreamed the old bear or did he really appear to Pompee? He was not sure and did it really matter if it were real or not? What was important was the message that came and the child had been saved from downing. He knew he owed much to the elder bear.
He now knew why he had not gone with the hunting party.
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