The days passed in lazy friendship, while Girl’s bruises and aches slowly started to heal. Finally came the day when she was tired of behaving sensibly, and hanging around the cabin all the time. No matter how entertaining – or infuriating, or amusing – the Bear could be, she was aware that the world around them was beautiful, and she was seeing only the part she could witness from the cabin’s porch.
So, they began a series of day trips, during which the two people became fast friends, even if both of them had things they didn’t wish to discuss.
The Hiking Day
Bear and Girl had an almost-full day of hiking. Bear was enjoying having someone to show the Canadian Rockies to, and so had stopped several times for breathtaking views as they walked. Girl was blown away by the splendor of it all – as was Bear, even though he had seen these views countless times.
Now the two friends were back at the cabin, with Girl having had a lovely supper of fresh trout, caught in a stream, pan-fried in butter, wrapped in bacon, and with a splash of Chardonnay at the end. She wondered how it had all gotten here, but avoided asking.
They had chatted during supper, and now, dishes done, had moved over towards the fire, Girl to the sofa, Bear to the rag rug. Gradually, the conversation had slowed, then stopped.
The fire burned steadily, giving off heat, a sense of well-being, and the glow of friendship, appreciated on both sides. Girl moved from the sofa to lean against Bear on the rug, watching the glow and flicker of the fire before them.
The two friends curled up together on the woven rug, Girl in front, leaning back on Bear, stroking the fur on his enormous head. Bear was humming a lullaby his mother used to hum to him as a child.
Outside, the stars were bright, overhead, and, oddly, the Northern Lights had made an appearance…by special request from Bear. Bear and Girl eventually got up and went out on the porch to watch the light show, Girl wrapped in the blanket, sitting on the rocking chair that now seemed like home to her now. After a time, she started to droop, and finally went limp, asleep, head on one shoulder, drooling.
Bear finally picked her up, and carried her to her bed, placing her gently in it, and pulling the covers up to her neck.
She stirred, smiled, and murmured, “Night, Bear."
He kissed her on the top of her head, chuckled, then said, “Good night Girl. Nothing but good dreams.”
He padded back outside, waved his thanks to the Northern Lights, then went back into the cabin, closed the door, curled up on the rug…and went to sleep.
A Rainy Day
It wasn’t quite as nice the next day. When the two friends woke, it was to the sound of rain on the roof of the cabin.
Girl was grumpy, and didn’t want to get up, so Bear did, built up the fire, then rustled up some breakfast – granola and trail mix, plus some coffee. And some left-over bacon from the night before. Then he went and rousted her from bed…although the smell of coffee probably had more to do with her willingness to get up.
Once she had some food in her, Girl felt a bit more cheerful, so Bear told her to get the rain poncho from the storeroom, that they were going out.
“In the rain?” she squeaked.
“In the rain,” he confirmed.
So, they did.
“Won’t I need boots?” Girl asked.
Bear replied, “I believe you wore something on your hind paws when I picked you up, yes. Now stop stalling and get ready!”
The two friends walked along the stream by the cabin, uphill to make the return easier, then stood by a place where the stream widened out, and the water was rushing downhill, making a kind of natural music.
The rain kept falling steadily. It wasn’t a cold rain, actually kind of pleasant, and the sound…well, combined with the sound of the stream rushing over the rocks, and the beauty of the mountain, and the absence of other sounds, it was magical.
They stood there for what seemed like forever, just listening and watching. It was…hypnotic, majestic, even magical. It silenced them both, and they just stood, and listened, and waited with the world.
Its breath was their breath.
Its light was their light.
Its peace was their peace.
Finally, when Girl’s feet were getting cold, they walked back to the cabin in contemplative silence.
Bear got her to go in and change into dry clothes, while he built up the fire again.
Then he wrapped a blanket around her shoulders, and they sat, gazing into the fire, and talking about everything, and nothing, laughing at jokes (except Bear’s seemingly endless supply of Dad jokes!) and letting the rest of the day pass in peace.
Girl fixed a light supper for herself, chicken, the last of the supplies Bear had had sent up from the valley, with potatoes, plus brownies for dessert. And Bear found a container of hot chocolate mix in the storeroom, so Girl used some of the powdered milk to make a rich, hot drink against the cool weather outside.
The two friends sat, dreaming into the fire, while the day faded, yet it remained in their minds and memories.
It had been a nothing day.
Except it wasn’t nothing. It was filled with the joy of living, the pleasure of being together, and the comfort of friendship.
So, as darkness fell, and Girl’s eyes got heavy, Bear lifted her up, placed her in her bed, pulled the covers over her, ruffled her hair, and said, “Good night, my friend. Nothing but good dreams, always.”
Then he went back and made himself comfortable by the fire.
The fire flickered for a while. An owl called…and answered…from outside. Silence filled the cabin.
And they slept.
It had been a mixed day. The morning dawned cool and cloudy, with low scudding clouds, and hints of rain.
The two friends huddled indoors, chatting and doing a jigsaw puzzle together, with Bear pointing out pieces that Girl had missed, and her complaining good-naturedly about it.
Then, after lunch, the sky cleared, the sun emerged, and the day became fine, so the friends decided they’d go for a walk and get some air.
Along the way, they noticed there were a lot more wildflowers out than there had been before, so they picked some – a small bouquet.
They brought them back to the cabin, put them in a water glass, and set them in the middle of the table to brighten the cabin.
Then they sat together in companionable silence on the front porch, waiting for the setting sun to paint colors on the mountains opposite.
And when the sunset line finally worked its way up past the highest peaks, then extinguished the orange glow of the topmost peak, they went in and made supper.
After Girl had finished eating, and cleaned up the cabin, folding the dish towels so they would dry, Bear built up the fire, and the friends sat together on the rug before it.
The light danced on the ceiling, and they talked quietly, so as not to disturb the gathering, solemn peace.
And when night had properly fallen, and the fire was burning low, Bear picked up the Girl, carried her gently to her bed, tucked her in, kissed the top of her head, then went back to bed down in front of the fireplace.
But before he lay down on the rag rug in the great room, he walked out to the porch to look up at the stars. He smiled up at them, and said, “Thank you. I was lonely.“
He returned to the great room, slumped down onto the rug, closed his eyes…and slept.