Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I've had three BEAR SIGHTINGS in the last month. The first time I saw two, the second time I saw one and today I saw the BIGGEST BEAR I have ever seen.

The first time I was walking down my neighbor's driveway to meet my ride to an art session. I always sing loudly when I walk down this driveway because it just seems like a good place for bears to be. It's wild and shaded and rocky, with small streams running down both sides of the quarter mile drive. I was loaded down with portfolio, easel, paint box and purse. I was about to the end of the driveway when I saw two young/yearling bears run across the driveway about 100 feet in front of me. I was startled, they came and went so quickly. I stopped and considered what to do. I soon continued on my way singing to the bears, loudly, making up pleasant lyrics about how they were all happy to be where they were and were equally startled to have seen me, I hoped.

So that was on a Wednesday, 4 weeks ago. The following Friday I was in my living room. My dog Mollie barked her guard dog/warning bark. I looked out the window and my other dog, Grace, was plastered against the glass dog, head and tail down and very quiet, terrified. Beyond Grace, and just beyond the gate to the yard, was a bear, again a yearling, not so big, but plenty big enough. The bear was on his was down the driveway and quickly disappeared. It is truly amazing how fast they move, with a fluid, effortless looking roll of a walk. .

It does give me pause to see them so close to the house. I like to work outside a lot but I assume they really don't want to mess with me. Some days this spring the dogs haven't wanted to leave the house. They go out, sniff the air, do their business and ask to come right back in, regardless of the weather. Other days, they are happy to hang outside. I think bears are close by on the days they don't want to leave the house. Bears are the only thing I know of that the dogs fear.

So today was the clincher. And since things often come in threes I truly hope this is the last for a while because today I saw the largest bear I have ever seen. And I was more scared than I've been in ages. I think it was the sheer size of the bear. Or the fact that I've already seen bears this spring. Or maybe I was just feeling emotional or the moon was in.... or whatever.

I was upstairs in my studio, getting ready to walk down the driveway for an art session. My dog Mollie was downstairs, she gave a warning bark. I lifted my head just in time to see a HUGE bear go down the driveway. It was noon, a bright sunny day, I had a good view from that second floor window. The bear was right outside my yard gate and in no time at all, maybe two seconds, had disappeared down the driveway. I'm not sure why I reacted with such fear. I called and asked my ride to meet me at my house. I wasn't in the mood to walk down the driveway just after the bear. I wasn't feeling that brave.

I know that these black bears are shy and not at all likely to want to have anything to do with me. I also know that my fence and large glass windows would not stop a bear but I can't imagine one wanting to come in. I would never suggest that anything be done to any bear.

I'd love to have pictures but the sightings have all been so quick that unless I'd had camera in hand..... I talked with a woman today who'd had a lot of experience with bears in her work as a forest ranger. She assured me that these bears are very skittish and not aggressive.

I feel so privileged to have been granted these sightings. I've seen bears before, but always from a much greater distance. I've been hearing of many bear sightings around the county this spring. In all the sightings the bears left as soon as they heard the people. The closest encounter was a bear on someone's front porch, just on the other side of a door, now that's really close.

Some days feel like a Russian folk tale. Perhaps there will be interesting dreams tonight.

PS Heard today that there are many black bears in VA and there has never been an unprovoked bear attack in VA. I hope I get to see them again.


Blogger Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

How exciting!

My dog Motley has been running through the horses' field to the tree line when we go out there early in the morning to feed. He starts barking his head off like something's there. I've gone to look, not too close, but I've never seen anything. I think you're right that bears scare dogs because he runs back, looking over his shoulder, lol. If it was a deer or something else, he'd go into the woods to chase it.

They are beautiful creatures. Don't they look kind of like dogs?

7:11 PM  
Blogger Tabor said...

Since my most recent post as about television they now have a TV show about the 'bear whisperer' and one can go on a vacation adventure to North America and visit the guess they are becoming more common in our society and not so much the dangerous and unpredictable creatures we thought they were!

7:21 AM  

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