Sunday, May 15, 2011

Polar bears

The oldest polar bears die of starvation.

They will survive the dark months of ice and the bright months of thaw. They will fight, over sex, over food, to protect their helpless cubs and win to survive. They will lie in wait next to a seal’s breathing hole in a cutting blizzard, sometimes for days. And they will survive.

And then, maybe while the summer sun bathes the world in the sharpest light, they will first feel their claws failing. They will find they can’t run as fast anymore. Their hunts are increasingly unsuccessful. Mercury quick seals slip away under the ice floes.

Increasingly reliant on sparse grass and sour berries, the polar bear will try to scavenge. A new mother with a fresh kill proves too powerful. If he lives close to human settlement he will try to knock over dumpsters and be shot at and run away.

Finally, he will lie beaten and ragged on the lee side of a rock. Maybe he will hear the surf and listen to the seagulls, wearily eying a fox that finds it’s always worth its while to check out polar bears. Then, the fox leaves. The bear is not even hungry now. He only wants to sleep.

A truly unimaginable variety of suffering suffuses the world.

Note: This is part of something larger I may be writing. Let's see what it becomes.


  1. Het broertje van Blinde SchildpadMay 15, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    You did not just make that mistake, did you? Correction: "A new moher with a fresh kill proves too powerful."
    And I'm a tad confused about the bear trying to be shot at. Did you intend to imply he's suicidal?

  2. Typo corrected, thanks! And: oh, come one, that sentence is perfectly understandable.

  3. Am I weird for having read this post entrirely in David Attenborough's voice?

  4. @Drabkikker:
    No, not for having read this post entirely in David Attenborough's voice.