September 23, 2013

Fall Moments Monday

Photo credit: Dr. Robert Berdan

“When you are where wild bears live you learn to pay attention to the rhythm of the land and yourself. Bears not only make the habitat rich, they enrich us just by being.” 

― Linda Jo Hunter

When I woke up Sunday morning and looked out my window, I could see that fall was here. Not that the leaves are turning just yet, but I could see a black bear sow and two cubs roaming the beach across the river in what has become an annual event.

Every year about this time the bear's search for food becomes more intense. The fall season is preparation for a long, lean winter. Hungry bears make for brave bears, and this time of year they forage closer to human habitation.

I don't take the garbage out at night this time of year for that reason. As beautiful as they are, I have no desire to run into one in the dark under the cedar trees.

I have run into many bears (both black and grizzly) while backpacking in the Rocky Mountains, some close enough that I could smell the wild emanating from their shaggy, muscular bodies. Time for a change of underwear.

Yesterday I experienced my semi-wilderness moment from the civilized perch of my couch.

As I watched the momma bear ambled the beach like she owned the place, poking her wet nose into this and that and scouring the area with beady little eyes while her big furry head weaved back and forth.

The cubs followed, searching one thing then another, and playing king of the castle on large drift logs under the edge of the forest canopy. Every once in a while the cubs would run, like ponies, just for the fun of it. Eventually they melted back into the forest just as they emerged out of it a few minutes earlier.

These magnificent, wild and free creatures reminded me that the season is turning, and for a while here in the northern hemisphere it will be about comfort food and hunkering down.

It is time to make like a bear and get ready - only 89 days until winter starts.

Happy Equinox. 

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