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Archive for August 15th, 2009

OK, it’s the morning after.  The bear actually came back to my porch another time last night (see yesterday’s post), but i had already – after she left the first time – gotten brave enough to go out on the porch to bring inside the bird feeders that mama bear had not mangled on her first visit, so this second time she didn’t stay but a few moments.  She may come back tonight to make one last check, but i don’t expect her to linger then, either.

And, this morning, with the smoke (or the bear odor – i think i even smelled it and I’m sure that Buddy did) cleared, I’m realizing that i missed a real opportunity.

It was all so exciting.  And Tom had cool photos from mama bear’s visits to his patio early in the week (with cubs – they weren’t with her on my porch).  And i wanted to document this exciting event – and to be able to show the images to my friends, some of whom are familiar with this front porch.  So i understand why i spent the few minutes of mama bear’s visit to my porch madly snapping photos – i almost could not have done differently.  But i do have a lingering “what if?”

I take a lot of photos of Buddy.  He endures it.  He doesn’t pose well – he pretty specifically turns away when he sees the camera in my hand.  But it is, overall, a very small slice of our time together that i’m playing photographer.  I certainly realize that these photo shoots are not quality time between us.  So why didn’t i give myself some quality time with my bear visitor?

This was only the third time i have seen a bear outside of a zoo – and the other two sightings were relatively long distance: way off down a forest trail, many years ago, and crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway about a year ago (this sighting lasted just a few moments).  But this bear was about ten feet away from me (yes, on the other side of my windows) and she was taking her own sweet time, exploring all my different bird feeders.

And i realized this morning that i never let myself experience it.

I am very clear that connection with another species is a tremendous antidote to our human feelings of isolation.  This awareness largely drives my passion over my relationship with Buddy – and the joy i take from walking dogs, both at the local animal shelter and in my dog walking service.  Here i was in such close proximity to a magnificent being of a species i do not know – and i just stayed busy the whole time.  Not just busy, but also intrusive.  The flash from my camera finally pissed her off and she actually lunged at the camera, poking through the top of the window.  So my final moment of that bear visitation was spent with her angry at me – and me running like hell further into the house!

If i do ever again get a bear up so close, i think i will just pay attention: pay attention to her, pay attention to what gets evoked in me from being in her presence – including fear, which was certainly all mixed in with the excitement i felt last night.  I would like to just be with her.  To maybe think:

“Here we are: two very different species, but both sentient beings inhabiting the same planet.  Ms. Bear, i greet you – i honor your presence and am grateful that you have visited me.  I will treat you with respect – and hope that, when our visit has ended, i will carry within me some of  your great bear energy.”

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