Just a Porcupine (haibun)

Out here in the deep forest, the all-afternoon snow has finally stopped, but now it’s starting to get dark, and we still have a ways to go to get back to the car. I can see some kind of dark figure coming into view in the trees just ahead. I pray it’s not a bear cub at this late hour.

Yes, I can see now that it definitely IS a bear cub rolling around on a tree limb! I can feel my old fear knocking at the door; a bear cub means a–wait a minute! It’s January! The bears are all taking their extended naps this time of year.

I look again, and now I can see it’s just an ol’ porcupine, quietly minding his own business, and feasting on tree bark. I am relieved!

* * *

in the dark of night

our fears readily offer

to fill in the blanks

–Photo by me