The Daily Forest Report May/June 2013 Stalking the Invisible Bear

by nielskunze on June 29, 2013

This has been ongoing for a couple of months now. My daily forest adventures follow nearly the very same backroads and pathways every day. I am continually astounded by the profound changes which occur from one day to the next. Of particular note has been the presence of a bear along those very same backroads and footpaths… for the past two months.

I have yet to see the actual bear though. I have merely documented numerous unmistakable signs… and had a near encounter. More on that shortly. But the surest and most common sign that there’s a bear in the area is, of course, fresh bear poop.

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I’ve had to step over at least ten piles scattered over a vast range of my daily circuit. I always know within a day or two of exactly when they were deposited.

Early in the spring, before the dandelions or even the crocuses would bloom, I wondered what the awakened bears might find to eat. This year they were forced to strip the bark from trees to scrape and eat the inner cambium and lick the bittersweet sap.

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I found two such stripped and ravaged trees along my regular route.

Most recently with the rains and the mud, I came across a nice clear footprint. When I placed my hand over it our heels lined up, the width was the same, and my fingers extended to the tips of his claws. So not a big bear… but not so small either.

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Now, for those who might be concerned for my safety, I have a few things to say. Black Bear is my primary totem animal. I have been interacting with Black Bear frequently and consistently for twenty years now. I have had over 400 bear encounters, many of them at close range (less than 10 meters). I have never felt threatened by Black Bear. I don’t carry a gun, nor any bear spray. It has been a very long time since I have felt any fear while walking these woods.

So on to the near encounter. I heard the bear up ahead breaking branches, presumably because he heard me first and was eager to flee. Often bears will vacate the immediate area, and then stop to take a look from afar. They are curious creatures; they usually want to know what’s going on. This time, as I quickly dug my camera from my pack, the bear had managed to completely vanish… without making any further sounds. That’s when I dubbed him The Invisible Bear.

To me it’s astonishing that we have shared this territory for months already and haven’t spoken face to face. Today I quietly asked The Invisible Bear what he’s trying to tell me.

“The sun is shining brighter today. I am darker than the darkest of shadows. But that is only my appearance. Humanity hunts the darkness; humanity haunts the darkness; it stalks the darkness; it is at war with the darkness. Are you ready to make peace? Are you ready to shine brighter? Then soon, I will meet you in the sun.”

I think I’ll refrain from interpreting Black Bear’s raw message, and allow you to make of it what you will.

One comment

neils…i lov you and black bear too

by virginia bruce on June 30, 2013 at 3:10 am. Reply #

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