The Bear In The Woods

Celandine Poppy growing under Ed Gulley’s windchime

I did not take a single picture in the woods.  Although I was tempted by the heart-shaped leaves growing close to the ground and the tiny but sturdy yellow flowers that looked like miniature orchids.

I went to empty my head, not fill it even more.

Last night Jon and I went out to dinner, something we haven’t done in so long I can’t remember where or when it was. It was such a welcomed break in our routine and helped to shatter the spell that had descended on us.

This morning I wanted to keep that feeling going.  Doing something different worked last night I decided that instead of going to my studio this morning, I’d go for a walk in the woods.

And not the woods I walk so often, but a different woods.  One close by that has trails I’ve never walked before. I couldn’t take the dogs, so I went alone.

Translucent beech leaves, waving in clusters, soft, sensitive green. 

Giant rock ledge piled up, falling down.   An avalanche caught in time, sprouting ferns and pines like hair. 

I walked up hills and down, over the same stream more than once.  I didn’t really lose my way.

Twice I turned around and retraced my steps.  One path parallel to Route 22, the sound of traffic a constant.  The other took me further into the sun, till I saw signs for snowmobiles and knew the path could go on for many more miles than I wanted to walk.

On the way back, down a hill, about fifty feet from me, a very big black bear walked from the woods onto the path.

I stopped.  I put my hand on my heart, (I don’t know why) and I looked at the bear.

He stopped too, either smelling or hearing me, and turned his head to face me.  Shiny thick black fur, and a soft tan conical nose.  He lifted his head and we stared at each other for a moment or two.  Then the bear turned his head, lifted his padded feet, and ran silently into the woods.

Now my walk was complete.

Tired and sweaty, somehow even after seeing the bear, my head was clearer than it had been in weeks.  Yet I felt filled with warmth and excitement, it still sits in my chest as I write this,  as if something special had happened.

I’ll probably look up the meaning of a bear crossing my path at some point.  But for now, the experience of the meeting, quick as it was, is enough. I’m still smiling from it.

I can see that so black and glistening, shiny, long, soft fur.  I can feel the mass of the bear, heavy, lumbering yet graceful at the same time. And that nose,  the only other color, and texture in a bulk of smooth, rounded curves.

I went to the woods for cleansing and renewing.  Forest bathing it’s been called.  I went to shake up my routine to pull me from myself.

Thanks to the hills and the wandering paths and thanks to the black bear,  I received it.

10 thoughts on “The Bear In The Woods

  1. What an experience, to have a black bear step into the path you are walking, literally! ( but also symbolically.)
    Interpretation is such a personal thing.
    For myself, bears (in active imagination or dreams) have been guides who show me, and explain, messages.
    What a cool experience! A gift.

    1. It is kind of dream like LoisJean. The bears that come to me in dreams always allow me to face up to a fear. I love how the subconscious is there for us. And then can manifest in the “real” world.

  2. Maria – a bear ! A bear !!!!!!!! Lee Asher of Asher House said as a kid he loved bears so much and when he saw a Chow dog he thought it was a bear. I would love to sponsor a bear at the zoo. I have to gear myself up to do that somehow.

    1. I can see that a kid could confuse a bear and a chow. I’m sure you can find a way to sponsor a bear Eileen. You’re good at finding animals in need. 🙂

  3. Maria, we now have a very healthy black bear population here in North East Alabama.
    I’m desperate to see one in the wild! I know it’s just a matter of time.

  4. Isn’t Nature wonderful!!! A bear sharing space with you, each respecting the otherI love the “out of the blue” experiences Mother Nature gives. I was blessed to see 5 turkey vultures doing their aerial ballet over our little farm. We rarely see them in our area, it was a treat!

    1. It is Josie! What it treat it must have been for you to see the Turkey Vultures. We get many of them, especially passing through in the spring. They are a wonder to watch!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Full Moon Fiber Art