Thursday, August 14, 2008

Harry's Discovery

Harry lay down, his head swimming with the realization that he had something to offer the world besides a growl and a John Wayne swagger. He lay down on his back with his head resting on an ice pilow. He stared quietly ahead while Gretchen stood patiently at his side.

His right paw scratched at the snow absently as his mind tried to comprehend the enormity of what Gretchen was saying. Could she be right? Do I have other gifts to offer? If so, why am I so afraid of them?

Harry sighed deeply forming a hugh vapor cloud above them. It quickly crystalized in the cold air and fell as a twinkling cloud of white dust. Gretchen watched the millions of ice crystals settle over them knowing that Harry was releasing a belief that had been hammered into his young head practally from the day he was born. She remained quiet so that Harry could think. Softly she gazed toward the frozen horizen.

Harry thought about his emense popularity. He was envied by all the males and sought after by all the females…well, most of them. He had everything a young polar bear could want: looks, physical size, a dynamic personality. He thought he had it all, at least all the important things. Now this Gretchen comes out of nowhere and tells him none of that is important. She says he has a gift – an ability to express beauty – and that others might feel the same joy from his expressions that he feels in creating them.

Wow! How radical.

Gretchen continued to watch Harry struggle with this new concept of himself. She was careful not to push too hard. It was a concept Harry would have to discover on his own. She could only suggest from her perspective. He had to do the rest.

After a very long time Harry finally broke the silence. “Tell me about yourself, Gretchen. What makes you so smart? How do you really know that I have a gift?”

Gretchen smiled back warmly. “I saw what you were making. I watched you for several minutes as you were working. I saw the expression of joy on you face as your creation took shape.”

“You were spying on me?” Harry was aghast.

“No. You just happened to be where I was going. I didn’t sneak up on you – you just couldn’t hear me. You were so engrossed in what you were doing that a caribou stampede wouldn’t have distracted you!”

“So, what makes you an expert?”

“I’m not. I just know what I like.”

“And what would that be?”

“I like honesty, sincerity and sensitivity for starters.” Gretchen shot back.

“I’m honest,” Harry responded with a defensive whine.

“Are you? Why are you always strutting around like you’ve been sitting on the ice too long…with that silly expression to boot.”

Wait just a damn minute, Harry thought to himself. I’m Harry, the Polar Bear. Women love me. Who is this Gretchen to imply that I’m not honest and…that I might even look foolish?

“People tell me I walk like a movie star.”

“How does Harry walk?”

“The point is, Harry” Gretchen continued, “that your attractiveness comes from within – not from some phony movie star.”

“But I have a following. They all want to be around me. What do you think of that?” Harry was being just a little defensive.

“They just want your power. Is that all you have to give?”

“Isn’t that enough? Not too many have this, you know.”

“No, Harry. It’s not enough. And it will never sustain you in the long run. No one but me knows who you really are…and you want to hide that for fear others will think you’re not macho enough.”

Harry lapsed into silence again. He really liked her. What was it about her that he found so appealing? She talked back to him for one. No one ever did that. It’s, like, she saw right through him…wasn’t impressed. Damn!

Harry saw that honesty and integrity in Gretchen and found it very appealing. He liked the way she spoke directly and openly. There was a strange type of courage present in her demeanor – one that Harry found unfamiliar and puzzling.

“Okay, smartass,” he quipped playfully. “Tell me some more about what you like.”

“I like artistic expression – visual or otherwise. I like those who are not afraid to show those abilities in spite of what they might think others would say. I like bears who know themselves for what they are and are confident in there own fur.”

“What else?”

“Here’s what I don’t like: bears that come on strong because they think it’s sexy and appealing.” Gretchen made a retching motion with her paw. “You, Harry have all the potential to be really attractive to me…you just have to drop that macho bullshit.”

Well, she is direct, Harry thought.

“And how do you propose I do that?”

Gretchen stepped towards Harry with a mischievous look in her eye. “Let’s get started!”


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