Bear meditation

I was closely connected to bears even when I was not self-aware yet, but if I am more accurate, with Bears, written with a capital B. My mother, even before she was married in the family Draškovič, had the surname Medved (Bear in Slovene). I therefore like to make jokes that it is probably not a coincidence that I chose the Kočevje region as my “den”.


But, all jokes aside, bears have always fascinated me and I deeply admire them. To me, a bear is not only a huge predator, but it is a being, which lets me dream. This animal wakes in me a certain part of curiosity, a spirit of adventure, and also reminds me of the things which are most important – to be devoted, to never give up and to respect the things around me.



Every encounter I had with these fascinating animals was an adventure on its own. And even if it was only a scratch mark on a tree, as I saw going past the forest, run over stones which were moved by its big paws to get to the ants den or wild wasps even. These things all speak to me about how it is present even to this day. Sometimes I even meat them head on; sometimes totally out of the blue, sometimes intentionally, but always with a certain portion of respect. These jewels of nature, these close encounters are all part of a big mosaic picture that helps me define and understand how these creatures are living today in our close environment.



Without a doubt, the bear is one of the most charismatic animals in Europe. Ever bear encounter stirs up very strong emotions in the person looking at them; from fear, which is mostly because of false or lacking information of them, to hate and also admiration, and a mixture of many other emotions along the way.



When I finished my doctors’ degree in Ljubljana, I moved to a part between Grosuplje and Turjak, where the ponds and woods always cheered me up, also because I use to find an occasional big paw print when I was strolling around in nature. In the winter days, where I liked to explore nature with my skis and enjoyed the snow and what is had to offer, I loved to find freshly imprinted paw marks in the freshly fallen snow. At first, I was surprised, but today is it known that bears, on average, sleep 2 months less than they did before, and that is not really a surprise... Whatever the cause, my enthusiastic feeling whenever I encountered these fresh marks on the ground were not so welcome by others when I talked about them and lead to fear by most of my colleagues. But there is not cause for alarm, you just need to keep your eyes open and have a certain degree of respect of Mother Nature. When I travel with other people and guide them around my forest, I try to make them see the life of the common bear, so they can understand what a fascinating animal it really is, and how he lives, so they do not have any cause of fear anymore.



The bear glides through the woods almost silently, mostly by night, and expertly avoids people, because he himself fears them most. His big string body, his gracile movements, and a certain elegant step of caution are what he represents, “the mighty bear”. When I was walking with Stane one evening, we walked through the forest and a bear was roaming his nightly territory. He gently sniffed with his nose around the ground, moved silently around the trees and hobbled along in his typical way of walking, with his arms upfront. “Such a beautiful creature”, I thought in that moment. Such a precious meeting is was; such gracility, the elegance of movement. And that last step till the sun went down in between the mighty trees is front, which made his fur glitter behind is ears. Perfection!



Even if I saw my very first bears only on photographs in the wildness of Alaska and Canada, I love to admire and follow them whenever I can, here in my home of Kočevje. Mostly it is known that the bear is the main symbol of Kočevje, but not to be confused by – the most bears here live in the Dinaric region, where their area is stretched out even to the Alps.



After a walk in the Kočevje woods you feel different, as when walking in Štajerska, because of a certain feeling that is only felt in this place and in the presence of these wild animals. Bears, wolves and lynxes stir up our consciousness and make up dreams in the night, whereas we feel their presence in the day when you see a print of their paws whilst walking among their muddy, natural territory. Every time a child is thrilled to see a bear print on the ground, a leftover of a wild animal, every information like that is a step closer to better understand our place in where we live and how to treat these fine specimens. Even though in Slovenia, based on the statistical data from 2007, around 470 bears live here (new data from 2015 will soon be released), they are still rarely seen whilst walking in the woods. They demand a certain degree of skilled looking, patience, luck and preparedness. And even when you see them, you rather step back and leave them be.



A touch of that kind of wildness, even in the presence of wild animals, gives you a certain primary feeling: they wake in you mixed feelings of fear, longing, hope, and wishes, which we never even knew we could feel before. We begin to understand ourselves, our being, and extend our viewpoint of our soul and strengthen the ties of the seen and unseen alike. An Indian tribesman names Luter Standing Bear wrote that whereas they lives amongst the prairie and woods, around wild rivers and steep mountains, they never thought of these as “wildness”. It was simply their home.



dr. Petra Draškovič Pelc
dr. Petra Draškovič Pelc

Štajerka, ki si je za svoj brlog izbrala Kočevsko in ki ji ob misli na doživetja prostrane divjine Aljaske srce še vedno zaigra. Obožuje tišino, mir in svetlobo divjih, nedotaknjenih krajev, kot tudi neokrnjene predele domačega kočevskega prostora in Slovenije. Navdušena popotnica, radovedna občudovalka narave, turistična vodnica, avtorica številnih prispevkov doma in v tujini ter doktorica biomedicinskih znanosti, ki je svoje poslanstvo našla v (naravoslovni) fotografiji. Skozi svoje delo v okviru ARS NATURAE skuša izraziti ljubezen do narave in njenega ohranjanja.

Zadnje v blogu Čebelnjak:
Morda vas zanima tudi: