Cub in the Oven (Highline Magazine, Winter 2012)
Pssst, Sow Grizzly. I know you’re trying to sleep, but I need to talk to you.
You know that guy you met last spring? C’mon, you remember, the one that herded you up the mountainside? I agree, he was was a bit dense. Didn’t really take the hint when you started biting him and cuffing him in the face. But, he wore you down with all that nuzzling and huffing and hanging around. It’s happened to all of us.
I know, the dude is long gone and you’ve moved on. No strings, right? Well, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. See, bear bodies are a bit tricky. You have these voodoo wombs that allow your eggs to be fertilized by sperm in the spring, but prevent implantation in the uterine wall until the fall. While you’re spending your summer biting off squirrel heads and packing back berries by the thousands, your body is deciding whether or not you’re going to be fat enough to pull off a pregnancy.
By the looks of things, you’d better start picking out cub names.
The good news is that, unlike us humans, this winter that little bear is going to slide effortlessly from your body. You might not even wake up. And there’s no getting up every two hours to nurse the little tyrant – it will suckle you all on its own while the two of you doze. It’s a pretty sweet deal as babies go.
Good luck, don’t worry, and please don’t take it personally if I steer clear of you for a while…