ETERNITY [HUNTER BEAR APRIL 19 2006]
"You're wired not to know fear," said my oldest son,
John [Beba], a few days
ago during a long phone talk. "You were born that way."
He's right. And I have heard essentially that from many people over many
decades. I have never known fear and thus cannot claim courage. But, if
not born with the qualities of visceral fear, I do have -- in addition to a
very helpful high pain threshold -- reasonably good logical and intuitive
faculties. These enable me to spot danger, quickly formulate appropriate
preventative approaches -- and, if necessary, combative strategies. I do
like to think the same qualities were held by our Ancestor, Hatchioraquasha
[John Gray], who so effectively fought the Brit fur companies and grizzly
bears as well.
This Lupus Thing [systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE] has, of course, been
a major struggle and a critical test. It's attacked much of me and it is,
frankly, relentless. The occasion for John's foregoing comment was yet one
more of now countless tests of many kinds to determine the whereabouts of my
mortal and eclectic adversary. This one involved waiting for the results of
a blood test to determine the extent of kidney erosion -- a little of which
had shown on a previous test. When, after the "turnaround time" of about
three days, there was no call of alarm from the medics, it meant that, at
this point, things are comparatively -- comparatively -- OK on that
particular organ front. But I have been extremely tired lately and there
have been some other signs of internal subversion. Unlike a new friend who
is presently at Johns Hopkins, SLE has not successfully invaded my brain and
threatened my mind.
In his massive compendium of medical essays, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
[1343 pages], published most recently in 2004, the quite capable editor,
Professor Robert G. Lahita, sets out by referring to SLE as "a deadly
But I can be deadly, too.
And, through all of these things, Lupus and long, long before, I tend to
remain stoic, pokerfaced. [This was always somewhat disconcerting to Foes --
e.g., K-12 teachers and hostile cops.]
Time, as I am prone to say, runs away like a jackrabbit. I am speeding up
my autobiographical writing. Some stuff I post fairly broadly, some goes
only to our huge Lair of Hunterbear website, some remains private for the
foreseeable future. [I have no assurances of a publisher, but I keep
I do tend to be reticent about some dimensions of my personal past: things
of which I never talk even though, by all reasonable cultural standards, I
handled those matters with capability and honor. I may -- barely -- touch
the edges of those things but only to illustrate a more enduring
I have been privileged with many confidences in my long life so far -- and I
keep every single one of them. I should add as well that I will not waste
time on personal attacks on old enemies even though I have no use for
sanctimonious conniving and it's difficult for me to muster forgiveness in
matters of treachery.
Basically, that which I write has a strong consistent social justice
focus -- with selected personal asides as these episodes have shaped my life
As a boy, I shot my huge Coming of Age Bear -- deep in the vast and
beautiful Sycamore Canyon wilderness area in Northern Arizona. At that
point, I then became a man. The fiery spirit of the Bear and its abundantly
fine qualities -- intelligence, courage, stamina, instinct -- are with me
always and have consistently served me very well and faithfully on my swift
and rocky and sometimes sanguinary River of No Return. His physical skull,
with appropriate feathers, is always close at hand.
I plan to do much more in my life -- much more indeed -- before the eventual
trip into the Fog and Deep Canyon, up over the High Mountains, and Far
Beyond to the Shining Sun in the Turquoise Sky that glows forever down on
the Headwaters of Life. And when that Journey finally comes, the great Bear
will accompany me.
Life is a Great Circle. The leaves fall but one's personality lives and
comes ever yet again. And even though much of the basic situational
geography will be similar, there are of course new vistas abounding, new
rivers to cross, new mountains to climb. New challenges. New growth.
From Virgil, translated by F.W.H. Myers in his "Essay on Virgil" [Classical
"And last to Lethe's stream on the ordered day,
These all God summoneth in great array;
Who from that draught reborn, no more shall know
Memory of past or dread of destined woe,
But all shall there the ancient pain forgive,
Forget their life, and will again to live."
I have that Will to Live. And so do we all.
Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR] Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
FROM PETER SALTER [MACK]:
FROM JOHN SALTER:
Ah yes, I also suggested you had never
admitted to being wrong, to which you replied that you'd never been wrong. So
despite the Lupus, your spirit remains intact.
I also told you I didn't know how you managed to remain pretty optimistic despite being essentially shackled by this disease. I think many of us would have been broken by now. I had a terrible bacterial infection for a few weeks and almost gave up!
I've been looking at the broader issue of how someone like you, who has sacrificed and literally bled for others, has been rewarded with this unimaginable suffering. All I can come up with is that there must be some meaning in it, perhaps a meaning that will not be clear for some time. But I'm pissed off at God about it. My little son keeps a picture of you getting your head bashed in by Jackson cops. And this is the thanks you get? You'll go to your grave having never even owned a new sofa.
If anyone would like to weigh in on the nature/meaning of suffering I'd like to hear what you have to say.
Keep up the fight, HB.
FROM EDWARD PICKERSGILL:
New sofas just do not
make sense in the territory poppa has travelled. There is that unfamiliar
sadness watching the first stains appear... a sense of longing for that future
time in which comfort does not take so long to develop. The time that must be
invested in looking after a new sofa is time taken away from all the other
things. The reluctance to have a sofa on which one cannot sit if bleeding or
just plain dusty would likely be an unwelcome burden. And, I suspect, it's
likely that there'd be a hesiation to engage in what other new things would
likely be required to go along with the new sofa.... one path just does not
include new sofas and that is not a criticism of those who have new sofas on
their path; just a fact.
FROM CORNET JOYCE;
FROM SAM FRIEDMAN:
FROM GLORIA CLARK:
Yes, I understand what it is to be fearless, as I have
described by others in this manner. I am sorry you have lupus. I know
what it is; my cousin has it. She finds the climate in Arizona amenable.
"It's not that I am afraid to die. I just don't want to be around when
it happens." Woody Allen
All the best,
STEVE ROSSIGNOL WRITES:
Keep up your writing! I am happy to see the posts crank out!
I am looking forward to your autobio when you get it published. Of course,
I will want an autographed copy!
best wishes and solidarity,
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR]
Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´