the first time we saw a bear, Beloved and i were coming back from dinner and i saw what i thought was a big black dog standing on its hind legs beside the bookcase i'd been painting, about five feet from our back door.
"wow," said Beloved, "look at the BEAR!" and all of a sudden the dog morphed into a big black BEAR and lumbered away into the woods at the sound of our car. i have no idea what attracted the bear to the bookcase... maybe he was looking for something to read.
Beloved and i were so excited we called the police to tell them there was a bear wandering around town and they told us we were lucky. "to be alive?" i asked Beloved as he related the conversation. "no, to have seen the bear," he said.
a year or so later, Beloved was barbecuing outside the front of the house, and we saw a small brown bear with an orange tag in her ear wander out of the woods and take a hopeful sniff. she lingered for a long time on the other side of the pond... or at least long enough for us to decide to move the grill.
the following spring, libby and i were on our way out somewhere when libby said, "oh, mommy, look at the bear... it's got a cub!" fortunately the door was still closed, and we waited until mama bear and her baby diappeared.
one morning in late fall, i was coming back down the driveway (in my car) after taking libby up to meet the bus, when i saw what looked like a large black shadow blocking my path. the shadow shifted, moved to one side and vanished into the trees. i wasn't sure what i'd seen, until buddy and sam discovered the large pile of poop in the middle of the drive.
last night we were relaxing after dinner when ethan saw a big black bear wander out of the woods and along the perimeter of the lawn. it strolled over to Beloved's art house, sniffed the woodpecker's woodpile, and meandered deeper into the woods, until we couldn't see it anymore.
"do you think i should call the police?" asked Beloved, "and let them know there's a bear the size of gentle ben wandering around town?"
"nah," i said. "i don't need the police to tell me how lucky i am."
and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.