Lost Among Big and Little Bears
Okay, okay, I admit I am a bit of a tease and like to throw out random parts of my story for you to analyse. What do you think happened before and after this excerpt?
M eanwhile, Marita was much happier than Margaret feared she would be. She was singing while unpacking at the logging camp where they had spent so many busy weeks the winter before.
The rest of the logging crew wouldn’t arrive for a few days but she didn’t mind. They were going to have a little vacation before work began.
Marita longed to hike over the crunchy softness of fallen leaves, and breathe deeply of the fragrant piney air, but that would have to wait. There were windows to restore to sparkling brightness, cob webs to whisk away, clothes to unpack and dinner to get onto the wooden plank table. Later there would be time!
As she picked up her dust cloth the ringing sound of an axe greeted her ears. Randall was preparing kindling for the cook stove. She smiled, grateful that he was doing his part. That meant he was probably in a good mood.
Although it was hard in some ways, she enjoyed life in the lumber camps. The women were generally more sociable there than in the big cities and drink was not allowed on site. When Randall worked so desperately hard in the crisp, clean air, he rarely woke up from one of those devastating nightmares which he incoherently would try to describe to her sometimes, leaving her feeling chilled.
Just then a chickadee trilled merrily through the open window and she whistled back. The bird winged off with Marita’s troubles and they fluttered away in the soft, balmy sunshine.
Three year old Emily caught her mother’s jolly mood and was frolicking just outside the door. A thin layer of golden aspen leaves was floating softly to the ground. Emily shuffled through them, watching as they mounded up on either side of her tiny feet. Oh how she delighted in the bright autumn colors!
Tall skinny poplars were springing up everywhere. In the distance
massive cone bearing trees sort of took over, crowding out the kinds of trees that gaily fluttered their buttery-yellow finery.
Emily skipped over to a nearby clapboard cottage so similar in appearance to their own. She knocked at the door but there was no answer so looked in at the window but nobody was home. Not even the three bears invited her for tea!
Maybe after nighttime they’ll come, she decided. “Everyone will
come soon: for sure after nighttime.
She flung her arms out wide then twirled around a small sapling.
A small stuffed toy was partly concealed in the falling leaves.
She had discarded it earlier that morning while jumping out of the truck.
“Teddy!” she cried, “My teddy!”
Marita smiled while listening to the joyful voice of her small daughter then went to the bedroom to unpack the bedding and clothes.
Meanwhile Emily fiercely hugged her plump teddy bear, then dragging it by one fuzzy brown leg trotted off into the woods, after a red-wing blackbird who warbled merrily. Soon Emily’s lilting voice was also singing.
“Teddy, Ted-dee You are mine you see Teddy… Ted-dee You are mine, you see.”
A tiny footpath invited her to come deeper into the woods.
After skipping along for a while she beheld with wondering eyes a gurgling brook. It was so sparkling green and pretty that in seconds her socks and shoes were off and she was dangling her feet in the shining water.
Emily was blissfully unaware that a few yards farther on there was a deep hole with a swift undercurrent and if she had fallen in…
Forgetting her socks and shoes but clutching the precious toy, Emily continued her little adventure.
She tiptoed across the rippling stream by stepping from one smooth flat stone to the next.
“Eue, eue, that’s cold!” she would exclaim every time she stepped on another rock, but kept on going, not even aware that Teddy’s arm was trailing in the stream.
One forked trail lead to another, each one more appealing to a little girl than the last.
She trotted on, sometimes stooping to sniff a late blooming flower, sometimes picking a leaf the color of pure gold.
Then she saw partly grown black bear padding softly through the trees.
“Oh Teddy,” she exclaimed, nuzzling his fuzzy cheek, “There’s your brudder!
“Here Teddy! Here Teddy!” she trilled. The cub tossed his head and ambled away.
“Teddy! Wait for me!” She heard a low menacing growl and for a moment was frightened. She stopped and looked around,
but wasn’t sure where the big grrr came from. She hurried along calling “Teddy, Teddy!”
A huge bear lumbered out of the woods and swatted the cubs’ behind. The baby stopped peering over its shoulder and scurried away from its mother’s broad paw. Emily hurried after it, stumbling
over twigs and roots in an effort to catch up. Her feet hurt badly but she so much wanted to hug that baby teddy.
Far away, little Emily’s mother was frantically searching for her, and even farther away: far from the wilderness and wide prairies in a distant city park a small child was clinging to an oak tree and wailing.
“Randall, I called and called, but I can’t see Emily anywhere. She was here only a minute ago.” Marita was nearly in tears.
Randall shut off the chain saw and laid it beside him. He looked so lithe and manly in his plaid lumberjack shirt when he stepped onto the huge stump nearby and peered all around.
“Funny how a little kid can vanish so quickly,” he muttered half to himself. “Marita you head up the road we came on and I’ll search around the logging camp. She can’t be far away.”
After the bears disappeared from view Emily sat down right in the middle of the path and rubbed her feet.
“They don’t like me, Teddy.” she sobbed tears streaking her dirty face.
Emily was very tired. She dragged her toy bear to a mossy spot that made a velvety nest beneath the trees. While she drifted off to dreamland perhaps an angel in glowing garments hovered over her.
Emily stirred drowsily, whispered, “Mummy,” and went back to sleep feeling safe in her mother’s care.