In the early nineteen nineties one of us was helping a friend clear out an attic in Utrecht, Holland and came across the stuffed head of a Polar Bear dating from about the eighteen twenties. The Bear’s head had probably spent over a hundred years hidden away in the dark and now it was crumbling to the touch and sadly ended up in a skip. We found it incredibly sad, that a majestic, splendid and very intelligent being was destined for this fate. We managed to rescue the two canine teeth from ending up in landfill and have kept them ever since.
The Bear’s head was very large and it would have been quite old when it was shot down for pleasure and became a trophy in someone’s dining room or hallway. It must have spent many, many years hunting on the ice and roaming under a sky filled with northern lights. We absolutely abhor the thought of all the animals that have been killed in this way and we wanted to do something to celebrate and honour the life of this particular Bear. When we came across the teeth there was nothing we could do about the fate of the Bear as the atrocity had taken place over one hundred and seventy years earlier, but the thought has followed us throughout the years; what would be the best way to ask for forgiveness and turn the whole story around into something more positive?
We, as humans are at a fork in the road at this point in time. We have exploited the Earth and all the creatures we share it with for much too long.
We like to believe that it is still possible to turn this viscous circle around. We decided to fashion the two teeth into talismans to wear around our necks so that they would be a constant reminder as to what we need to do.
We strive to live our lives in a way that will have the least negative impact on the Earth and help create a sustainable future. Sometimes we are lazy though. It is very easy to lose track of our goals. We are surrounded by all the convenience of a so called modern world. There are temptations at every corner. It is easier to buy food in the shop than to grow it ourselves. It is comfortable to have a warm house and drive wherever we want, whenever we want. It is easy to order almost anything at all on the internet. Despite good intentions it is easy to give in. We want to give in less often. We wish to cherish nature and live more in harmony with the Earth.
So we have taken the pledge of the Polar Bear teeth. Polar bears are now an endangered species along with so many others. To contemplate all the ones that are already extinct is almost unbearable. So we were thinking, what if the teeth of the Bear that was killed so cruelly almost two hundred years ago could have an impact on the world today? If they could help us make better choices and strive to live a more sustainable life. Maybe it would tip the scales a little bit and the Bear would not have died completely in vain? We are only one family and we understand that we are only a tiny drop in a gigantic ocean. But on the other hand, the ocean is made up entirely of tiny drops.
For one of our talismans we choose a labradorite crystal to frame the tooth as it reminds us of the northern lights. It is also a stone connected with healing. When we had finished putting it together we realized that it looked a lot like one of the masks doctors used to stuff full of herbs and wear to avoid catching plague in the old days. Very curious, is it not?
For the other one, we chose a red jasper as it is a stone that helps to both protect and empower and thus is well suited for this purpose. We will wear our talismans with pride and hope to slowly chip away at the collective grief that we as a race have created. Every act counts.