Journey through Turbulent Spirits: ‘Touching Spirit Bear’ Chapter 1 Summary


Welcome, dear friends, to a journey through the wild, untamed landscapes of both nature and the human spirit, as we delve into the world of Ben Mikaelsen’s “Touching Spirit Bear.” Today, we explore the first chapter of this profound narrative, where we meet our protagonist, Cole Matthews, a defiant and troubled youth.

Cole finds himself on a journey, not just through the cold, biting winds of Southeast Alaska, but also through the turbulent currents of his own soul. He is banished to a remote island, a consequence of his violent actions against Peter Driscall, a boy who dared to report Cole’s criminal activities. This banishment is Cole’s escape from the confinements of a jail cell, a seemingly lighter punishment, but one that carries the weight of solitude and self-reflection.

Cole’s view on this banishment is one of cunning calculation. He sees it as a loophole, a way to avoid the harsher realities of imprisonment. He doesn’t feel remorse for his actions; instead, he sees this as a game, a challenge to be overcome. His disdain for authority and adults is evident in his interactions, his defiance a shield against the world that has, in his eyes, betrayed him.

In this turbulent sea of defiance and anger, we meet Garvey, a youth probation officer, who introduces Cole to the concept of Circle Justice, a healing contract aimed at correcting the wrong done by a criminal. It’s not about punishment; it’s about healing, about making things right. It’s a concept that seems alien to Cole, a boy who has only known punishment and defiance.

Garvey’s words resonate with a deeper truth, “Something terrible has happened to you to make you want to kill a poor small animal.” It’s a reflection of Cole’s internal turmoil, a mirror to his damaged soul. Whether one agrees or disagrees with this statement, it opens a window to understanding the pain residing within Cole.

Cole’s journey is not just a physical one, traversing the cold, unforgiving landscapes of Alaska, but also a journey through his own spirit, his own pain. He is a boy who has been let down by the world, by his parents, by authority. His anger is a mask, a shield against the pain of betrayal and neglect.

His parents, embodiments of neglect and failure, have contributed to his turbulent spirit. His mother, a “scared Barbie doll,” and his father, a “bullheaded drinker with a temper,” have left him feeling abandoned and unloved. Their divorce and subsequent separate visits are a testament to their selfishness and inability to provide Cole with the love and support he needs.

Cole’s interactions with Garvey and his introduction to Circle Justice are a glimpse into the possibility of healing and change. It’s a path that requires acceptance and responsibility, a path that seems foreign to Cole. But beneath the defiance and anger, is there a spark of willingness to change? Is there a glimmer of hope in his turbulent spirit?

As we leave Cole, jabbing his fist into the air, proclaiming the world as “made up of suckers and fools,” we are left to ponder. Will this journey through the wild, untamed lands of Alaska bring about a transformation in his wild, untamed spirit? Will the touching spirit bear bring healing to his damaged soul?

Join us as we continue to explore the depths of human spirit and the healing power of nature in Ben Mikaelsen’s “Touching Spirit Bear.”


No comments: