The Bear Awakens
It was a warm spring morning in Mansfield, Texas. I was sleeping at the deserted end of a strip mall that had a Dollar Store at the other end. I stood up, and had the thought, “Man am I depressed.” I could feel the grief all through my chest region.
Mansfield is an old horse town that is quickly becoming a Fort Worth suburb, but they still have some open fields and pastures in the area. I had a route that passed through several of them to get Wal-Mart and McDonalds, it kept me off the highway.
Texas is famous for their wildflowers and there is a reason for that, they are brilliant. Well as I started my walk, I actually started to pay attention to the wildflowers, there were probably 15 or so different varieties in all sorts of colors. Well I became entranced, so to speak, and ended up spending the next two days wandering the fields and the highways just looking at the flowers as they played out there lives in the Texas sun.
I even started making bouquets, putting them in plastic cup and leaving them around town for people to see. One thing I did notice is that not many people noticed the wildflowers, everybody seemed to be moving a hundred miles an hour, chasing God knows what.
I am an avid people watcher and was one on the streets as well. I had a spot where I used to like to sit, come sun down, over by a Quick Trip, they had a lot of people traffic. Well after those two days of gawking at the flowers, I sat down in my spot and had a thought that made me look around to see if it had come from somewhere besides my head. The thought was, “it has been a good day.” I hadn’t had an unsolicited decent thought like that in who knows how long, it had been years actually. Well I choked out a tear or two of gratitude and allowed myself to feel some excitement again.
For the next two weeks I made myself a wildflower expert. Did you know the famous blue bells are actually a pea? The seeds in the pods taste incredible. I also discovered a wild onion that grows wild in the ditches by the highway, they are good for circulation.
I even came up with a theory. I noticed as the flowers began to wilt they actually helped to form next years seed. I believe the flowers are actually barometers so to speak, taking in weather and other information that gets stored in the seed and helps the plant on its evolutionary path.
I have changed my name four times in my life. How do you like them apples? Now if I lived in Santa Fe or Sedona, one of them New age type cities one would bat an eye at that information. But it did tend to create some shall we say curiosity amongst my family and friends. Consternation might be a better word. At any rate I was born Geoff Johnson and had changed it to James when I moved to the Florida Keys. In my mind a name can keep you tied to old ways of looking at yourself and old emotions you may be wanting to shed. A name change is a good way to cast a different, more positive, light on yourself.
I get little visions now and again. During that wild flower revival the name Andrew appeared in my minds eye and sort of pushed the other names aside. The Native Americans cultivated wild plants and used them for food and medicine so I took the last name Dancing Bear. Bear is a nickname I still answer too.
Well those wildflowers, along with Christ saved my ass. I was out of my great depression and back into life. I later read the ancient Greeks would turn people lose in flower gardens who were having mental and emotional troubles. Makes sense to me. You got the blues? Check out the flowers.