Remembering A Grand Journey
I Took To The Pacific North Wood,
Where I Learned Of This Old Legend;
Native American Tales Are Very Good
Music: Bear Mountain
Once, so long ago
This land was covered
With white ice and much snow
Then, Mother Earth was transformed
And a gigantic rain forest began to grow
Trees soon sprouted, that touched the very sky
And over this new realm, Raven The Creator, did fly
In his wisdom, Raven knew that we must always remember
So, he soon swooped down, and magically changed a bear’s fur
He had decided that every tenth bear would now become, snow white
And he named the white ones Moksgm’ol or Spirit Bear, with great delight
And even today, whenever you visit British Columbia’s magnificent woodland
If you believe - and if you remember - you might witness something truly grand
Here, each and every Spring, as tiny newborn bears eagerly emerge from their dens
Raven still silently sits in the trees counting nine black ones, and cawing joyously at ten
The aboriginal people of Canada called these magnificent white bears Moksgm’ol, which translates to ‘ghost’ or ‘spirit’ bear. Today, these white bears are also known as Kermode Bears, after Frank Kermode, who was a zoologist and former director of the Royal British Columbia Museum, and the first person to study their origins.
The Spirit Bear is not a Polar Bear or an Albino. Albinos have white noses, and they usually have red eyes. These Spirit Bears have brown noses and eyes, and they have been determined to be a distinct subspecies of North America’s black bear, that because of a recessive gene, are born with creamy white fur. Approximately every tenth bear here is born white.
After the great glaciers had finally receded, a gigantic Pacific Northwest rain forest soon sprouted, and it once ran all the way from California to Alaska. And this was once the Earth’s longest coastal temperate rain forest.
This glorious rain forest was magnificently cloaked in cedar, hemlock, Douglas fir, and spruce. Deer, both grey and black wolves, foxes, elephant seals, bald eagles, and these magnificent Spirit Bears had lived in this rain forest for centuries. And Porpoises, Orca whales, and Pacific salmon had thrived in its surrounding waters for eons.
And every Fall, thousands of these salmon filled the rivers and streams here, drawing these Spirit Bears down from the coastal mountains for their pre-hibernation feasts.
But very sadly today, the entire southern corridor of this once gigantic rain forest is already gone. And today, the remaining northern corridor, and these magnificent forest creatures, including these ancient Spirit Bears, are severely threatened by modern day business concerns, by never ending urban sprawl, and by the logging industry, without much regard for environmental balance, for ecology, or for their continued survival on this planet.
It is estimated that only a few hundred Spirit Bears remain in British Columbia today; and once, there were thousands.
©2008, Mr. Ed