Did you know that Grizzly bears can experience Acute Stress Disorder? Picture this. Autumn and the bears have entered a period of excessive eating known as hyperphagia. To bulk up for hibernation, they need to eat 20,000 calories a day to gain about 3 pounds a day. Brawley is stuffing himself with blueberries on the bank overlooking the river. Glancing up, he notices that Patrick is sitting on a rock beside the river—again. Brawley decides to amble down and find out the reason that Patrick has been sitting on that same rock every day for the past week. Listen as they chat.
Brawley: I say, Patrick, the blueberries this year are nearly as big as a small cherry.
Brawley: You could act a bit more excited you know. You have not been up at the berry patch all week. What’s with you just sitting on this rock every day?
Patrick: I need salmon.
Brawley: Your point would be? We all need salmon. While I wait for their arrival, however, I’m eating blueberries.
Patrick: What if the salmon do not arrive? We won’t gain enough weight to get us through hibernation! I cannot sleep for thinking about that possibility. When I do fall asleep, I dream that the salmon did not come and that we were unable to gain enough weight to survive hibernation. Come spring, Grizzlies are history.
Brawley: Where did you get that cockamamie idea? The salmon always come! Have you ever seen an autumn when they did not arrive?
Patrick: No. But when I was little, Ma told me that one year there were very few salmon in the river and the bears did not get enough to eat. She cried when she told me that her brother, a sister, and two cousins did not live through hibernation. I’ve always remembered that.
Brawley: And your point would be?
Patrick: The water is quite low in the river. I fear the same thing could happen.
Brawley: So, sitting on the rock for a solid week looking at the water is going to bring the salmon? You know better than that. Me? I’m stuffing myself with blueberries and whatever else I find. If there are fewer salmon, I’ve got a head start on the 100 pounds I need to gain to make it through hibernation.
Patrick: You don’t sound very sympathetic about all the stress I am experiencing!
Brawley: I regret you are experiencing stress. Most of all because you are creating your own stress. You are wasting valuable time imagining the salmon are not coming. Sheesh, Patrick! Get a clue. Come with me. I know where there is a patch of Whitebark pine nuts. We’ll eat all the calories we can find. Berries. Nuts. We will picture lots of salmon. They’ll be a bonus!
Patrick: You are a good friend, Brawley. I guess I have been creating my own stress. Whitebark pine nuts you say and blueberries the size of a small cherry? Okay, lead on. Come to think of it, I may know where there is a hive of honey!