The damnest thing happened last month. Seriously (our dog) and I were running trails with a friend and her husky, when we saw a lone black bear. And Seriously walked over and kissed it.
Here’s how it happened. We were on the Campbell Tract trails and stopped to water the dogs by the first bridge before we hit the Black Bear and Brown Bear trails. Here’s the irony: I was a little cautious about encountering bears farther up the trail (because, you know, Brown Bear and Black Bear trails) but we were only three-tenths of a mile from the parking lot. We were down by the water with the dogs when my friend said, “Bear!”
I turned and saw a black bear walking off the trail and straight towards us. It moved casually, as if simply out for an afternoon stroll, and it didn’t seem at all bothered by our presence. My friend grabbed her husky (who is still young and loves chasing big and scary things) and I called for Seriously.
And that’s when it became surreal.
Seriously walked towards me and then suddenly veered and headed straight towards the bear. I yelled for her to come back, but she ignored me. She approached the bear as if approaching another dog. I was sure the bear was going to swat at her with a paw, injure or even kill her. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the bear turned towards Seriously and they briefly touched noses.
Can you believe that? I wish I had gotten it on my phone but it happened so quickly, and when you’re backed in by the creek and a bear is walking towards you, you don’t exactly think about pictures, you’re too busy calculating escape routes and safety strategies.
But the bear and my dog touched noses, the way dogs greet each other. It was bizarre and unbelievable. Then the bear turned and walked back up the trail and Seriously turned and walked back to me and that was that. If I hadn’t of seen it for myself, I wouldn’t have believed it.
It made me realize that there are unspoken forms of communication between animals, even of different species, forms of communication that we humans can’t grasp. Sometimes a bear meeting a dog might result in danger, sometimes indifference and sometimes they might touch noses and continue on their way.
So yeah, it’s been an interesting summer. I’ve seen one other bear, a lot of moose, six baby moose, and a few eagles. I haven’t taken pictures of most of these since I’m usually running at the time and I hate to stop, pull my phone out of my pack and snap a photo. I’d rather stay in the moment, in the magic of running through the woods and mountains and suddenly encountering wildlife.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that I haven’t been writing much. It’s so very, very difficult to write when it’s light for over 18 hours and you just want to spend time playing outside. Still, that’s no excuse. I could easily find the time to write. I’ve just chosen not to. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing. Maybe I need a rest. Maybe I’m lazy. Maybe I’m tired of writing. Maybe I’ll never write another book again. Maybe I’ll suddenly become inspired this fall, buckle down and churn out something good and amazing. It’s difficult to know these things.
But enough words. Here are a few glimpses of my summer so far.