Sunday, June 8, 2008

When the bears came

Saw a big black bear yesterday right on the side of the road a few miles from our house. It was about to cross, but saw us and ran up a driveway and into the woods. I didn't have my camera (a rare thing these days), but even if I'd had it, I couldn't have set it up fast enough.

Not getting a bear picture is the story of my life. Even when I have the camera out and ready, with seemingly all the time in the world, something always happens that keeps me from getting the picture. It's as if the bears have some kind of power over my camera, because I can point and shoot and point and shoot and set and reset and STILL no keepers. I could post a picture that I took through my double-paned window one night when a bear was within three feet of me on our deck ravaging a bird feeder, but all you would see is black on black.

Our first bear sighting was late at night, when a mama bear and her three cubs found the galvanized garbage can full of sunflower seeds we always left on the deck. The lid was secured with bungie cords to keep out the raccoons, but we really weren't thinking "bear". Every now and then we heard from a distant neighbor that one had been rooting around, but we had never seen signs of any around our house.

Until that night. We heard them first; the terrible clatter of that trash can as mama rolled it down the deck steps and then began attacking it to get inside. I turned on the porch lights and she didn't even look up. I took the screen off the bathroom window, the closest spot to where she was now, and took picture after picture of her inside the can, her rump in the air; of her coming out for a breather with seeds all over her face; of her cubs lurking just behind her, watching and waiting . I was just simply giddy. . .I saw myself showing off those pictures to everybody I knew -- maybe even posting them on the town bulletin board. Our first bear!

But, of course, it wasn't to be. That particular camera just didn't get it. It couldn't or wouldn't adjust to such low light automatically and it had NEVER let me in on how to adjust it myself. So again with the black on black. I tell people they'll just have to take our word for it when we tell our bear stories. They WERE there. Honest.

(Remind me to tell you about the time a bear trapped my husband in the garage. I know HE'S not going to tell you!)

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