Maybe if she’d been back home in
Maybe if she’d been in
But she was jogging after work in a small village on the
No need to worry about bears, even though bears are prevalent in this area. It’s winter. Too early for bears to be out of hibernation. And probably no one told her about the pack of animals venturing too close to the village, apparently unafraid. But even if she’d heard, things like that only happened in cheap novels, didn’t they?
We’ll never know what happened as she jogged along the snow-packed road. Did she know they were coming? Or did a hundred and fifty pounds of fury and sharp teeth crash into her back and knock her to the ground? Slam the breath right out of her? We know she realized what was happening because she fought back. But there were too many and they were too cunning and too strong. They were following instincts gone horribly awry. They dragged her off the road into some brush and did what hungry wild animals do.
The snowmachiners came by less than an hour later, saw blood on the snow, one person’s footprints, furrowed drag marks leading into the brush. They followed and found her.
This afternoon, the Alaska State Medical examiner told us what we all suspected. Wolves had attacked and killed someone in
Today, as State Troopers fly to
Most of the time we live in relative harmony with the wild animals and consider ourselves lucky to see them in their natural habitats. But they are just what we call them—wild animals. Their ways are not ours, their ethos not ours, their instincts not ours. Sometimes, as in this case, when wild animals following their instincts cross paths with a human in the wrong place at the wrong time, horrible tragedies can occur.
Just minutes before I heard the definitive cause of her death on the radio, I had been reading sympathy cards in a grocery store in Seward. One in particular caught my attention, and I was thinking about the message as I pulled out of the parking lot and crossed the highway to head north.
The card, expressions from Hallmark, is a pale, pale green. On the front is a gray and white graphic of a pearl in a half shell. The message reads: Seashells remind us that every passing life leaves something beautiful behind.
(With condolences to the parents, family, friends, co-workers, and students of Candace Berner. I never knew her but I, along with all