Bearly awake

At 7.15am today I wandered into the kitchen for my first double espresso, glanced out of the window, and saw this:


Not much to add really.  You are supposed to bring bird feeders in during the summer, for exactly this reason, and mine is coming in now!

But I did get some great photos:


See how delicately he/she uses his huge paws:


I hope I will never get closer to a bear than this.

The following evening, she returned, with last year’s cub. They approached the house, heard or smelled us on our screened porch, and veered off to stroll slowly across the meadow and back into the woods.

Blacl bears, mother and yearling

PS I should add that this is an American Black Bear, Ursus americanus, and an adult male can weigh up to 250Kg. They are shy, and I have only ever seen them before from a car, disappearing into the woods. But when they emerge from hibernation in the spring they are very hungry. Up the road from me, one tried to break into a car that had a sack of birdseed on the back seat. Probably the same bear. I do wonder if they are emboldened by the lack of human activity at the moment because of Covid-19. Reclaiming the wild.

PPS A neighbor, Jo Radner, wrote this marvelous poem after a somewhat similar encounter. I have her permission to share it with you, but for some reason I can’t persuade it to single-space, so it looks longer than it is!

 Morning Blessings 2


Se’u marom eyneychem u’ru mi vara eyleh?

Lift up your eyes and see – who created all this?


Se’u marom eyneychem u’ru. . .


Before I open my eyes I know

the woods are full of life.

Shrill squirrels

sardonic jays

a honking goose flies up the lake

crows are discussing something nearby

and that woodpecker, nature’s jackhammer,

must have bored clear through that tree by now.


It’s when I open my eyes that I see

the quiet ones, the waiting ones –

the little birds,




titmice –

and I know it’s time for the new morning ritual:

put out the bird feeder.


It’s a new ritual

because of the bear.


She came late Sunday night

darker than the dark

a massive black shape

even under the deck light

a fluid, moving . . . nothing.

Feeling ridiculous, I stood

barefoot at the screen door.

“Shoo!” “Go away!”

“That’s bird food!”

She forgave my insolence,

strolled over,

raised her huge head

and studied me.

I noticed that her chin was brown,

not black;

her dark eyes glinted under the light;

her teeth (was she smiling?) were white.

I mended my manners.

“Good evening,” I said.

She stood tall,

pivoted with astounding poise,

embraced the bird feeder,

glanced back at me once,

gracefully stepped off the deck

and rode the feeder to the ground

as its iron hanger curved into a new arc.


I have not seen her since.

But each night,

as I bring the tooth-dented feeder indoors,

I scan the dark for her darkness,

and apologize.


. . . mi vara eyleh?






10 thoughts on “Bearly awake”

  1. He also just came out of your pond..his paws and chest look wet!! Good catch! Our feeders are in …but miss my birds!

    “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” Bob Dylan

    Sent from my iPad



  2. That is quite a Beary close encounter! Good that your camera was within reach! You must have read Mary Holland’s ‘beary’ post this morning. That’s a wonderful poem…are some of those phrases Finnish?


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