Saturday, December 6, 2008

I love bears

Grin and Bear It

I love bears,
I feel a kinship, as up here,
they are the closest species to ours,

I’ve watched and searched for days--
at the top of the mountains, at the bottom of the mountain,
today I hike and explore all along the long valley
that snakes along with the leaf-strewn creek,
no sightings,
just a few sign where they’ve ambled and foraged,
tomorrow I leave, so I drive up and down the valley again, looking,
and suddenly there’s a sleek, big black bear
ambling down the trail near the road,
I drive ahead, park, ready my camera,
and snap picture after picture
as he hoves into view
and crosses a small footbridge over a branch,

he hears my camera,
pauses, looks,
takes a few steps more,
pauses, looks,
continues on,

I drive 1/4 mile ahead, park,and hike up the trail
to where I think he’ll come since he’s been favoring the easy path,

I wait and look up the long straight section of trail I’ve chosen,
and there he comes! straight at me!
I snap picture after picture of him aimed right at me,
not like the shots of rear ends so common for me with wildlife,
my heart beats faster and faster
for I’ve chosen a spot for the quality of the potential shots
and not for the quality of my retreat routes,
I don’t want my last amazing shot as he approaches too close
to literally be my last shot,

he hears the camera, figures I’m ahead,
goes off to the side,
pauses to wait me out,
and, when I’m still there he drops down the steep bank to the creek,
crosses it and finds a new adventure
since I’ve messed-up his planned stroll,

I take a few more distant photos and then lose him,
dusk is coming fast,
I await him for awhile near a way bears often use,
and I’m gifted with an antlered buck as a consolation prize,

I still feel exhilarated,
so happy that my life and the bear’s intersected
for time enough to thrill me
and to feel so very right.

by Henry H. Walker
November 8, ‘08

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