There’s nothing quite like a mother’s love and protection, and animal moms are no exception.
This post was inspired by an experience I had with my son out on the trail a few summers ago.
Colin and I spend a lot of our summers on the range watching and tending to the cattle. Our typical day consists of leaving camp while it is still early and cool and checking one of our cattle loops. We then return to the cabin do our cabin chores before heading off to the creek to play and have a cool off before an afternoon nap and we head back out for our evening cattle loop, sometimes rolling back into the cabin just before dark.
Two summers ago, Colin would have been 3, we headed to a remote area of Ash Creek to play with our trusty stockdog, Chuck. We had a nice time and were just getting packed up to leave when we Chuck sound an alarm, a serous deep bark with lots of authority in it. I grabbed Colin and called Chuck back, he had wandered up stream a bit and was in a heavily brushed area were I could not see him. Chuck returned to us immediately but remained nervous and on high alert. We went wide around that area to get back to were we needed to be and then caught a glimpse of a black bear who rose up on her hind feet to get a good look at us. I usually do not give the bears there much thought because they run off before we even know they are there but she had no choice, being a mother of two young cubs she scooted them up a tree before following herself. We left her in peace not only for our own safety but because I could relate to her about the nervousness I feel in wanting to keep my young safe and she saw us as a threat.
I do not why this brief encounter has stayed so closely with me other than I could relate to the vulnerability being a mother puts you in and especially at animal level. They choose to stay in deadly situations that they would normally flee from to protect their young. I felt I was connecting to her on a primal level and can only imagine the stress of being a mother in the wild.