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Max and Ella -
A Love Story
Most bedtime stories are fables, make-believe stories to lull children to sleep. This story is both make-believe and real, because adults can turn their dreams into real stories as they journey forth through the multitude of events in their lives. So, this is a story about Max, a male Sun bear, known for his great physical strength and courage. He has so mastered the physical realm, that other creatures acknowledge him as Sensei. For any bear, this would be quite a feat, but Max is no ordinary bear. He is the most intelligent bear in his clan. Max hunts and gathers in these two realms--the physical and the intellectual--where he knows he has mastery and can survive.
His counterpart, Ella, is a beautiful female red-tailed hawk, who soars to great heights and is part of a small number of creatures whose
vision sees into future possibilities. Ella can stretch her wings wide enough to travel on air currents at lightning speed, soaring and somersaulting and diving all at the same time in an ecstasy of flight. Her mastery to see far has given her the title of Messenger. She comes from the clan of feather creatures, known for their great compassion and capacity to love. Ella hunts and gathers and creates in four realms--physical, mental, emotional and spiritual--where she has mastery in sensing, love, creativity and navigating the Void. Bears and hawks mate for life. This is the story of how Max and Ella find each other.
It was a crisp spring evening. A new moon hung low in the sky giving Ella just enough night-light to soar. Tonight she would fly higher than she had ever flown before. She was sending out a message and needed the wind to carry it to the right creature. She was calling her mate to her.
It was in the spring when bears come out of hibernation, that Max was roaming new territory in the upper northern reaches of Montana. He was looking for a new land to claim as his own. After days of traveling over vast stretches of barren land, he found a wooded spot to settle down for a good night’s sleep. The wind was fiercely howling all around him. It was unsettling. He could almost hear a voice calling his name in the wind. But he was tired and simply wanted to sleep, so he dismissed it. But the next morning he heard the echo of that voice, and he knew
he must find his way toward it. It made no sense to him, but the weight and the urgency of it compelled him to travel into unknown territory. Since bears are very territorial, Max was traveling away from all that was familiar to him. He began what would end up being an eight hundred-mile journey before he would stand in front of the creature who had called out his name.
The physical journey had not been difficult because he had strength and endurance and great courage. As an abandoned cub, he had been wounded early by predators, as he was trying to make his way in the world. He had survived. And in his journey to survive he had gathered many tools and much knowledge. He had learned the art of scent. As an adult male, he could give off a scent that by itself would keep predators at bay. So, he journeyed toward this unknown with little apprehension because he knew how to survive in his two dimensional world.
On the third day of his journey south, he spotted her. She was in her natural element of flight. She too, spotted him when he stepped into the open meadow. She landed on a branch right next to him. This was a vulnerable position for her to be in, with her wings folded at her sides, and her beating heart exposed in an upright stance facing this great male creature. But there she stood seeking out his eyes, to see if she recognized his soul. And an amazing thing happened; he stepped closer
to her, so that he was now standing at eye level. In five breaths, they recognized each other and with that recognition, the possibility of great love opened to them both.
“I’m Max,” he declared with a gentlemanly bow. “I have traveled far to find you.”
Ella spread her wings in an accepting open gesture and responded, “I am Ella. I was the one who called out your name, although I did not know in what form you would appear. You are very magnificent.”
Max puffed up his thunderous chest and lifted his massive arms toward the sky, just to show her how strong and powerful he was. It was the first time in a long time that he had the opportunity to show off to anyone, especially a female.
She smiled softly to herself and thought how wonderful he was in all his charm. It had been a long time, for Ella, as well. They were not youngsters starting on their journey into life. They had both already lived many years learning and preparing for this particular time in their lives. But in the state of love, every man is virile and every woman is beautiful. Nor did either one of them recognize that he was a bear and she was a hawk. And because neither of them voiced their differences, they journeyed forward together, blissful.
Max decided that they should stay in Ella’s territory, since he was looking for a new home anyway. This way, Ella could show him all of the
places she had discovered for herself. So, as all good love stories go, they played and laughed and planned and shared stories.
Both Max and Ella had similar stories of abandonment. Ella showed Max her bad leg. It had never healed right. When her siblings began to die of starvation, Ella dropped out of the nest in an attempt to fly for help. Walking was not her natural way to move in the world, but now, she would always be clumsy and vulnerable when walking on the ground. Max showed Ella his one visible scar above his right eye. They both had invisible scars. Ella knew that by loving Max, love would bring up all things unlike itself, to heal and make whole. This was her area of mastery. Max did not know this, nor did he recognize that he was ready to master this next phase of his life, even though he had answered the call. He was counting on the same physical and intellectual tools by which to measure this new world of Ella’s without realizing that those tools did not apply. There was no logic in her world, no rational mindset. In his world there were well-defined seasons by which to live one’s life. Ella was exposing him to new experiences, the unknown, with rules he did not understand, and therefore had no control over. Max had always had to be prepared to fight the enemy and win. How could he fight something he could not see, nor understand? How could he win and how could she win at the same time? How could he be loyal to his bearness? It had saved him time and time again when he had no other thing to
count on, but his physical prowess and his powerful mind. He could learn about her world, but he would need to learn from the point of live exposure and not passive posture. He would have to live in her world with her to know the gift she offered him.
And then he saw it; she was a hawk--a hawk! How could he have missed this before? He had seen her dancing and flying and preparing a nest for them and fluttering all around him with loving gestures. How could he have missed that they could never live together--a bear and a hawk? He was so mystified by it, how could he have been taken in by her? Of course she was beautiful . . . of course she was loving, and of course he loved her, but this. . . .
So, one night while she stood perched on a low branch, Max watched her sleep and there it was--all this hawk emotion all around her. She was even haloed in it. His heart stirred with feelings and emotions that had no place to travel. He was lightheaded and nauseous. He had to escape. He knew she would understand, after all she loved him.
Ella sensed Max’s uneasiness the next day. Usually, Max offered to carry Ella perched on his shoulder so they could walk together and talk and explore, but today Max looked very tired and ill. There was no joy in his face, and he could offer Ella nothing, not even words. With each step that Max took away from Ella, Ella took a step closer toward him. He could not escape her, and she could not reach him. Max needed to find a cave. So, he left to hibernate. After all it was fall, and she must know that bears must hibernate.
Upon his departure, Ella flew away from him, so that he would not see the tears fall down her face. She flew hard and fast toward the setting sun. Her heart pumped so hard, she thought it would explode inside her chest. She glanced back to see the backside of Max, no longer walking up on two legs, but down on all fours and for the first time she realized that he was a bear. She had fallen in love with a bear! Before she could right herself and turn forward again, she hit a protruding limb and fell very far down to the ground.
It took her several days to recover enough to fly back to her nest. Flying was very painful since the limb had clipped the tip of her left wing. It would be awhile before she could fly with any certainty again. It was several days before Ella could locate Max. She did not travel by flying to him; she went inward and found him by going into the Void. In the Void, there is no sound, no light, and no thought. There is the Void. As she came out of the Void, she sensed the location of his cave, and so she knew that he was okay, although like her, alone and confused. She had only one way to reach out to him. The same way she had called to him in the beginning. He might not hear her this time, since bears do not hear well while hibernating, but she would send him her message anyway.
She told him first and most important, that she loved him. And love was no small thing in a world where creatures are always roaming, and searching for love. She also told him that even though he did not know it, this was his greatest challenge, and if he accepted it, the rewards and growth and experiences would far out way the risks. She told him that she believed in him and knew that he had the courage and will to open his heart to new experiences. If he simply looked at how he had mastered the past of his life, why could he not know that he would master this future experience of his life. She told him that there would always be differences in their lives, but it was those very differences that drew them together; made the fabric of their coupling stronger. Then she told him that she needed him in her life.
And with all that said, she added this last thought. She said she recognized that he was a bear, and that he might not accept any of this because he might believe he had to stop being a bear to love a hawk.
She knew that they would both have to be true to themselves. There would always be things in life that would challenge them, individually and together. It was how they would choose to stand together, to support each other with their love and their loyalty that would make all the difference. With the message sent, she closed her mind to him and began preparing for a long winter. She would not linger with waiting for him, even though her heart would stay open. She was
wise enough to know that her journey could be shared, but ultimately, one’s journey was traveled alone.
So, here we are at the close of this love story of Max and Ella. How does it end you ask? I don’t really know. Life is a mystery with all kinds of possibilities. Ella is hoping that Max finds her again, that he remembers the exciting stirrings of his soul when he first saw her. And you ask: How is Max? Max is in his cave, hibernating. No matter what he decides when another spring comes around again, he is a survivor. What does he want? Why, he wants the same things that Ella wants. What then separates them, you ask? A belief. But can’t beliefs change? Exactly. But it takes great courage and trust to love another and honor their differences. So, what will they gain by loving one another you ask? Besides the obvious--love? Max will become a greater Sun bear. And Ella will learn how red-tail hawks really fly on the wind. And as they journey together, they will write their story of how a bear and a hawk learn to love one another.
I thought you’d like it.
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