Way back when I was living off student loans, I spent part of two summers working on staff at a You.ng Li.fe camp called Wil.der.ness Ra.nch.  When the kids were out on the trail, the staff kept the camp up, built cabins, and had a bit of free time.  It was during this free time, that I would often take a little hike to a small creek and just sit by the water and read.  On rare ocassion, I might see a moose down the way, but they generally kept their distance.  I even saw a bear once, but it was farther away. 

I was studying for the CFP Board exam, and I thought the creek would be a great place to study.  So I took my notes down there and started hammering away: Risk Management, Taxation, Estate Planning…  when a gust of wind came down the valley and swept the loose-leaf notes out of my hand.  And much of them into the moving stream!  I was trying to gather the wet pages as quickly as I could.  It didn’t help that much of my notes were taken in one of those smearable ink pens that I love and now the words on the pages were running together!  As I was gathering papers from here and there, I looked up and saw a baby bear cub.  Which was all cute and well except that where there is a baby bear cub, there is a mama bear not too far away.  And I’ve watched enough Nati.onal Ge.ograp.hic to know that you do not want to be in this situation, pulling class notes out of water near a bear.

I gathered my wet pages and decided to leave the creek and find shelter to lay out my papers to dry.  That’s when I remembered that there was a small cave in the not too far distance, so I went there.  I laid the pages on rocks and decided to sit at the opening of the cave while they dried.  I must have dozed off, because the next thing I remember was opening my eyes and seeing the baby bear cub and the mama bear not 30 feet from me.  And then it hit me: I was IN the bears’ den

I quickly stood and found a place against the cold, dark wall – screw the C.F.P. notes at this point – and waited.  It appeared the bears were preparing the den for hibernation with foodstores and dry grasses (do they even do that, by the way?).  With few alternatives, I decided to HELP the bears.  And I started setting down grass sod squares, side-by-side.  Thank God the sod had miraculously appeared.  The bears noticed me, but I suppose, grateful for my efforts, chose not to make me their last meal. 

And then I woke up.