literary walk “in the land of bears” and following in the footsteps of our failures

Jean-Jacques Camarra spent his life observing plantigrades. Initially around the world, then in the Pyrenees on behalf of the National Office of Hunting and Wildlife. From this experience and an “outdoor” life, he now offers his vision of the evolution of our mountains, of nature but also of our society.

The “Walking with” collection of the Salamander editions takes its readers to nature, but also to the inner journeys where the authors want to take them. Jean-Jacques Camarra takes us to his home in the Pyrenees, both an intimate refuge and a place of work for his bear observations.

We find him there at the time of confinement, a voluntary prisoner. At this time out of time and which may seem like science fiction, it mixes with the description of everyday gestures (walks, observation of the fauna and flora, lighting the fire, fixing the building …) his reflection on the which is becoming our world and therefore our planet.

Scenarios often begin with the chaos that plunges men into virtual, impoverished social relationships. At this stage, men are always reinventing themselves with good intentions that rekindle love, compassion, and respect for life. But this resurrection is nothing more than a preparation of the world for another time …

Jean Jacques Camarra

In the Land of Bones

He also makes comparisons by immersing himself in his “butterfly notebook”, written a few years ago. We discover, through his observations of nature, the tracking of bears, before the reintroduction but also theories such as the very unpopular, of the improvement of the alimentary conditions of the plantigrade: that is to say, the deposit of food in certain areas (smoked). meat, corn).

Around his “cabanotte des anges”, Jean-Jacques Camarra, for his part, planted several varieties of apple trees that the neighboring plantigrades delight in, excrements full of peppers that testify to this. But anyone who admits that moving the plantigrade to Bearn has avoided leaving the forest alone in 4x4s and chainsaws regrets being listed only as “bear enthusiasts” and rejects the labels.

Because perhaps the problem is also there, in the Pyrenees, as in the debate on ecology: to list only “for” and “against”. The author also criticizes our “entertainment society” always pushing for more individualism. He invites us to “listen, instead, to what ancient civilizations say about old age and death, when they were still only very close-knit groups, devoid of all consciousness of the individual and free will.”

As for the lessons to be learned from the pandemic, don’t wait too long:

We have reached the crossroads of a world in the midst of questioning, but as always, the Grand Soir born of adolescence will not be. Unfortunately, I do not see any other path than a hasty rush, such as the post-crisis of 2008.

Jean Jacques Camarra

In the land of bears

In April 2020, when questioned by a journalist about the discovery of a dead bear cub, the former technician of the ONCFS monitoring team said “rediscovering his beloved freedom of expression, the d ‘before his existence as a small soldier in the public service’. Not letting your experts talk about it as they would like, this also truncates the bear debate.

Today, the man who gave his life to the study of nature denounces civil society and its denial of the destruction of our planet. “It relegates this disturbing phenomenon to the catalog of incidental risks, far below the more specific ones of smoking and alcohol, as if the fear were not proportional to the severity of the threat.”

Jean-Jacques Camarra says that he belongs to “these great outdoor spaces” that make up these magnificent landscapes that he sees from his window regularly throughout his book. A work that ends with the construction of a stone garden wall, a symbol of ancestral practices, of a generous nature but also perhaps of his Sisyphus rock.

He ends up finding his “four-bedroom kitchen” on the urban plain where the pandemic is still raging. The naturalist tells us that in ancient Chinese, the word “crisis” means “disaster” as well as “opportunity.” He does not despair of the advent of “a modern society that finally reconciles man and nature.”

“In the land of bears” by Jean-Jacques Camarra, Salamander.

Jean-Jacques Camarra will be the guest at 6.30 pm on Friday 13 May.

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