Chapter One - The Runaway
"PETERRRR" "peterrrr"; "PEEETERRR""peeeterrr". His name echoed across the ice throughout the morning as all the townsfolk showed up to assist with the search.
"That's three missing in the last month," said Miss Tyler to her twin sister, Miss Tia.
"You don't think it's like those poor little cubs whose ice broke away right out from under their momma's belly last week while they were sleeping, do you?" asked Miss Tia. "Only to find themselves half-drowned and washed up on a small sheet the next morning, nearly frozen and screaming for milk." Miss Tia was working herself up into another tizzy. She found herself worrying a lot lately. She wondered if she should start trying to eat more fish.
"No, dear. Peter is a big cub now," replied Miss Tyler. "You know how these boys are now days. I'm sure he's just run off on some adventure or other, and forgot to tell his momma."
"Yes. I'm sure you're quite right."
"Yes, that's it. Now, why don't we save our breath and let the others play his fool if they like. I'm all for a swim and a nap myself. Shall we?"
And off they went while the elders and Peter's school mates kept up the futile search. There would be no finding Peter this day. You see, the T-Twins, as they were called, had got it half right: Peter had begun an adventure; but they had missed on the scale of it...by a long shot. Peter himself had no idea what mind-blowing horizons lay ahead of him. This young runaway was about to learn the real meaning of his momma's mysterious words: "Dream big, Bear! but beware the hunger." "Hunger, Momma?" "Yes, dear. Dreams are hungry beasts; hungry like the great sperm whale. They feed on their dreamer’s gullible gusto, and grow ever insatiable to you, ever menacing to those you love." "But I don't want to menace anyone, Momma. I don't want my dreams." At this pitched and halting reaction, his momma continued: "It takes exceptional courage to chase a dream, Bear, and sacrifice. And greater courage still to stay on its trail. Everything in your everyday falls into shadow. All you love will drown under the rising tide of your dream. And so it must! little Bear. For that is the point. That is how we are led out of our false selves and into our true self."
And that is how his mother had left it. That is how Peter had managed to forestall the journey he knew he must take so effectively for so many months. But in the right soul, like seeds in the right soil, dreams will not be denied. In the end they burst forth naturally from your heart into your mind, and you carry them on your shoulders until they have your ear. And that is what happened to Peter last night after he watched the greatest ice sheet yet break away from its Arctic home and head south. Peter's dream of going south to find the legendary ice at the other end of the world to save his family and nation, at long last overcame his denials. His people were dying, his world was slowly removing from the face of the earth, and here was the solution drifting out to sea right in front of him. So he jumped. He simply lept into the lonely dark of the deep Arctic waters and swam after the large ice sheet. Peter the polar bear had decided the legend made sense. He had reasoned to himself: "Why wouldn't the world have icecaps at both ends? Why couldn't the ice there be unimaginably vaster than it is here? Why couldn't we bears migrate there like the great birds do? Why couldn't I, Peter, find the passage and lead the way?" And that ‘reasoned’ decision triggered the impulses that led to his ‘rash’ action. With the dream in his heart, and his reasons in his head, he lept, and swam, and catching up to the floating island, the reluctant run-away said a silent good-bye to his white wonderland.
Welcome to The Front Porch
Okay, dinner's over. The little ones are already at play in the yard. Lizzy, the devoted 'tween, is engaged in a lively game of giggle tag with the two toddlers. Braydon, while re-fitting the muffler to his dirt bike over at the side yard, is also busy pretending not to care. Grandpa has settled into his favorite lounge chair and lit his pipe. The twins are still at the dishes, noisily whispering about the recently discovered lump on Aunt Mary's left shoulder. Cool air brushes in off the nearby lake and shooes away the heat as well as the mosquitoes. The sun is heading for bed, and the long day rounds the bend towards home. There's just enough time left for a little light conversation and some good old-fashioned fellowship. So grab a seat here on the steps, or there by the old oak, and join in the discussion. Say your piece, or just while away the time listening to the chirping of the creatures hidden all about. Either way, we're here to entertain, enlighten, and encourage each other. And by the way, thanks for stopping by.