‘He’d left matted hairs. I glued them in my Shakespeare.’ (Ted Hughes)
After a good 6 weeks in Grizzly territory, I’ve just seen my first brown bears. A mother and her yearling cub, not 25 yards from me, grubbing for moths and crickets in the rocks. Such an exhilarating joy. I’m in Yellowstone, and have been thinking about Hughes and Plath camping here and having their car torn apart by the ’59th Bear’ of her short story and his poem of the same name (Birthday Letters). Gone the days of bleachers and lights strung up over the parking lot at Canyon, so tourists could watch the bears rifle through the trash at night. Now – take nothing but pictures, and leave no trace. Their bear left hairs in their car, which Hughes later stuck into his copy of Shakespeare. My bears will remain glued in just as tight somewhere else, and not the virtual copy of Melville that I brought for company. Different times.