This past weekend Hubs and I drove up to Asheville, NC to spend the weekend with our dear friend Gail. Gail lives on a mountain, surrounded by dense forest, with only a few neighbors within shouting distance. It's a gorgeous setting, wonderfully remote but with all the attractions of Asheville just a few minutes away. Because it's wilderness, Gail's place is frequently visited by bears, who enjoy lolling about under her crabapple trees and treating themselves to water from the little pond and waterfall just off her patio.
I have always loved bears, but have never been lucky enough to see one in the wild. So I was hoping I'd get a chance to spot one while we were there.
Friday came and went. No bears. Ditto for Saturday. But on Sunday morning, just as we were preparing to sit down to a lovely brunch, Gail's dog, who had been looking out her French doors, suddenly went crazy barking. Sure enough, ambling along the edge of Gail's flower garden was a magnificent black bear! I raced to the window just in time to catch a glimpse of the sun shining on his lustrous dark coat as he headed for the crabapple tree a few feet beyond the pond. There he proceeded to snack on apples, then laid down in the shade to take a nap, totally uninterested in anything but being indolent.
What a thrill for me! He was a beautiful creature, easily 200 pounds. Gail said he visits on a regular basis and has been doing so since he was a cub. Her only complaint was that she once found him sitting in the pond like a big hairy Buddha, which of course displaced a good bit of the water in it. So my instructions were to poke my head outside and blow as hard as I could on a whistle she keeps by the back door if it looked like he was going to wade into the pond again. Secretly I was hoping he would, just so I could get a better look at him.
But this time he wasn't so inclined. He stayed put in the shade until he heard Gail's daughter's car coming up the driveway. His big head turned in the direction of the noise, then he slowly got up and in just seconds he disappeared into the woods.
Those few minutes of observing a wild bear up close and personal were quite an experience for me. It was something I will never forget. How anyone could shoot or harm such a beautiful animal is totally beyond me. The heartbreaking case of Cecil the lion just brings home the urgent need to protect the amazing animals we share this planet with. If we don't, someday they will all be gone. And a vital part of our humanity will have gone with them. That's not a world I want to live in. Do you??
©2015 Lynn Edwards