Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My friend, the black bear

A favorite song of mine, by Railroad Earth, marvels at the beauty and strength of the black bear.  At my second or third Railroad Earth show (11/1/03 in Waistfield, Vermont), I remarked to a stranger that I'd like to hear this song.  Now quite familiar to me--I've seen him at shows as far-flung as Denver in the course of seeing 35 shows--the stranger advised me that there's "a time and a place for Black Bear".  That time was, in fact, that night, at the tiny venue with perhaps 200 people, while the band played into microphones. Black bears have fascinated me in part because of this song; I even tried to give my buddy the trail name "Black Bear", which might have stuck had he backpacked more. But I digress.

I've seen one up close, while at my old teaching job up in the Berkshire hills.  I ran outside and stood 10 feet away from it while it dug for grubs, oblivious or simply unmoved by my scrappy presence.  But somehow, endemic as they are in Valley backyards feasting at bird feeders, I've never seen one in the woods, on their turf. Biking today on Earl's trails --the ludicrously-fun trail network on the slopes of the Holyoke range--I came around a corner on the densely-switchbacking trail to find a bear ahead in my path.  We both turned tail and made much haste in opposite directions. On the map below, you can see where I abandoned my Easterly progress altogether.  I turned right around and rode to the complete opposite side of the trail network to avoid seeing the bear again.  I'll cede the trail to Ursus any time.

Circled: evidence of my cowardice.

No comments:

Post a Comment