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 Big Bear :        

 a man who lived with bears              

               

                "It was from Grant that I heard about another man, one whom had been perhaps the most notorious resident to ever inhabit the islands- Jerry the Bear man.

                Grant had lived with Jerry for a year and a half, had been a good friend, and had quite a story to tell about this iconoclastic comrade of his.

                Seems Jerry was a different sort of man altogether, which is to say, he was a gentleman. Apparently he had always been set apart from the average bloke on the streets. As an adult he had gone off and spent eight years in meditation in one of the remote valleys on the island, and when he emerged from his hermitage the animals had grown to trust and love him and followed him back to town. It was there, at his house overlooking the town, that all sorts of beasts would gather, hang about, and play as if they had returned to the Garden of Eden and no one had ever heard of the Fall.

                Grant showed me pictures of crows doing antics on his porch, dear grazing in the backyard, raccoons sauntering about as if they were card-carrying citizens of the state, and, of course, bears- all living within Jerry’s home. The bears were the most astonishing. Coming and going as they pleased, eating breakfast at his kitchen table- sitting up, holding cornbread like proper Victorian ladies- and sleeping on his couch.

                Grant told me that though the bears were absolutely wild, they accepted anyone whom Jerry accepted- which was everyone- and had never shown any sign of fear or hostility.

                The Queen Charlotte Islands are home to the largest black bears in the world, so we’re not talking here about any scrawny, goat-sized Himalayan dancing bears- we’re talking about the big boys.

                At one point there were as many as six bears coming and going as adopted members of Jerry’s household, and never a problem, never an attack, never any aggression of any type. And yet this was too much for the authorities to assimilate into their neolithic heads. No one should be allowed to love and harbor such unpredictable and terrifying beasts. It was unheard of. And the uncreative, imprisoned, confounded consciousness of the cops could, in the end, no longer tolerate such a preposterous, unprecedented, and potentially dangerous event. And so one day the thick skulled gendarmes entered Jerry’s house while he was away and gunned down all the bears that were peacefully hanging about in what they had come to know as their home.

                And that was too much for Jerry. The story goes that, soon after the genocide, Jerry set his house ablaze to release the massacred spirits of the bears, and a rainbow could be seen coming out of the inferno. A few days later Jerry’s vehicle was found on a logging road off in the hills, destroyed as well by fire, and with a mess of what were assumed to be Jerry’s bones amongst the ashes. To the authorities it was an obvious suicide, but Grant claimed Jerry was a different kind of man than that, and though the murders of his friends had been horribly grievous to him, he was still alive somewhere, and had simply gone away to where he would not have to endure the violence, brutality, and stupidity of humankind ever again. ..."

 

Excerpted from IN, AND OF, by Jack Haas           

 

 

 

 

 

 

What the critics have said about Jack Haas' books:

 

"...very strongly recommended reading..." Midwest Book Review

"The Kerouac of the new millennium." Frank Wolf (author of Blind Bay)

"...inspires us to rediscover the mystery of ourselves..." Judine Slaughter (Express Yourself Books)

"...Read in awe." Benjamin Tucker (author of Roadeye)

"...groundbreaking..." Joanne Turner (The Messenger)

"...an embarrassment of riches..." George Fisk (author of A New Sense of Destiny)

"...poetic and stunning..." Nancy Jackson (Dog-Eared Book Reviews)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books by Jack Haas

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