The Bear In The Woods

I didn’t take a picture of the bear, I didn’t even think of it. But I did take this photo on our walk in the woods on Sunday.

I make my way through the tall grasses, just a trace of the path I mowed in the early summer still visible. Pushing branches from the Elderberry bushes out of my way, I cross the Gulley bridge over the dry stream.

Now it’s just rocks, fallen red berries splattering the dry rounded black stones.

It’s the first year that I’ve walked in the woods during the summer since we moved to the Farm.  The first time I’ve been able to get through the grasses, some taller than me.  The ticks seem to have disappeared and I’ve discovered that there’s a whole area of soft green grass in the woods by the stone wall that marks the far border of our property.

If not for the mosquitos it would be the perfect place for a picnic.

On Sunday, Fate and Zinnia and I wandered off the path farther than we have since the spring.  I took few photos, just enjoying being present, wandering, looking, and listening.

As we started back home, going a different way than we came, I found myself heading towards a patch of brambles.  Fate and Zinnia didn’t seem to mind, but I turned up the hill where there the ground cover was easier to walk through.

The dogs, who were ahead of me, turned back and started to follow me up the hill when I saw a big black shape in the distance.  I was struck by how dark it was yet at the same time seemed to glisten.    I stopped and stared still trying to make out what it was when I saw the pale brown of his nose.

It was a bear.   He had turned his head and was looking directly at me.

I had seen evidence of bears in the woods before, scat and footprints, but never an actual bear.

Even though he was far away, my first instinct was to run.  I didn’t though.  Instead, I  casually called out “Let’s go this way dogs” and walked slowly in the opposite direction of the bear, the dogs following me.  I loudly repeated the same words remembering what I’d heard and read about making noise when you meet a black bear in the woods.

The dogs didn’t seem to know the bear was there or were intentionally ignoring it. For all I know, the dogs and the bear may have sensed each other on our walks before this.  I may have been the only one who was clueless.

It was both scary and exciting to see a bear in the woods.   A part of me wishes I  watched him longer. But my instinct was to make sure the dogs didn’t chase him and to give the bear a clear message that we didn’t want to bother him.

Today we were back in the woods.

This time we walked on the path, and I looked more closely for signs of the bear.  I didn’t see any, but I felt like I was giving him a message anyway.  Letting him know that we’ll be back, and we won’t bother him.

I kind of like the idea of sharing the woods with a bear.




6 thoughts on “The Bear In The Woods

  1. Maria, I walk in the open space near my house sometimes along a river. One of the highlights of being outdoors for me is seeing mule deer on the hoof, or a fox, sometimes a coyote. I feel quite blessed being surrounded by the wild. My border collie lets me know when a creature’s afoot. She stops and looks and stays close to me. Thankfully, we’ve avoided getting too close to bears and the deer look, but don’t run from us. That is troublesome and delightful at the same time. Don’t like the idea of deer not being afraid of humans, hunting season is just around the corner. In my part of the world, we stop for mule deer and let them cross the road. Folks grab their camera’s and try and get a shot of them by the side of the road. I am grateful to be living here in nature’s way. Love the river, animals and trees; have met other like minded souls walking the dog so get some social contact too. Blessed I am. Thanks for your blog and creativity. Bev from Verdi, NV

    1. How nice it is that you have enough expereince to know you can trust your dog with so many different animals Bev. I get what you mean when you say “troublesome and delightful at the same time. Thanks for your words.

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