Jehanah Wedgwood receiting her poem for the Monarch Bear
For the Monarch Bear
The veil opens. The last wild grizzly bear in California sweeps in, on his way to his final mountain rest.
Great soul of a lifetime...in whom old memories flash and fade. Of entrapment , rage and fear, astonishment...puzzlement. Caged forever. Behind iron bars, with dancing green oaks surrounding him. Many strange beings walking around him and past. Children laughing. Old memories of another bear and her motherhood. Strong young cubs...long time past.
He can smell elk and deer, just beyond the tall oaks . Beyond the iron bars. Caged forever.
The end comes. Old and decrepit, he is released. Killed, dismembered, skinned, bones buried unceremoniously in the park, then later dug up to store and reconstruct elsewhere. Skin dried, restuffed, part of a sort of macabre bear theatre...a main player on display in the museum forever. Laughing children surround him.
A part escapes finally. Windborne by willing children through the cool mountin air, warmed by mountain sun, wet by mountain rain, to sink ar last into mountain earth...at peace within the Greater Bear Spirit.
The bear's spirit had thus returned to the wilderness. To the mountains where he had once wandered free.
They called him Monarch, those that did talk. Forgotten never. He was their land totem, his likeness copied onto California's state flag, to remind them of the wild earth around them. A giant of the West, conquered yet conquering in the forests and river valleys of our hearts.
Later the children returned from the mountain, and gathered in the ancient oak grove in Golden Gate Park, the very place where Monarch Bear lived and died, the old cage torn down, replaced by Spanish monstery stones, and finally evolving into a Druidic meditation grove. The stones seemed sometimes to rise in new configerations, echoing images, suggesting a statue, a bear figure...to honor the Monarch.
The children prayed to heal the wounded King.
The Monarch Bear only sleeps. He will return.
Evolve, Survive, Party!
Jehanah Wedgwood at the Monarch Bear ritual
The Downie River - where the Monarch Bear's funeral took place upon Saturday, November 6, 2004