Chattering Mind

Chattering Mind

Them’s Bears in These Woods!

I’m back in the wilds of Western Massachusetts, getting healed by the air, the sounds, the lake swims, and the thrilling farmer’s markets.

At seven this morning, our dog Chester and I left the house in the woods and walked to the end of the gravel drive where we were greeted by the sights and smells of the weekend’s garbage strewn every which way, brutally pulled by some kind of animal from the fat green dumpster. They’ve visited twice before when I’ve been here alone: Bears!


As I studied the paper towel pieces and bits of table scrap, I tuned into the bear’s big energy and realized that this was no ferocious beast, just a desperate animal trying to gather a meager meal. Scavenging like a rat. How sad for the bear! And how sad for me, since I’ll have to go back with a rake and gloves to clean all the garbage up! (It’s all still out there as we speak.)

Back inside the house, as I was cooking breakfast, Chester gazed out the front window and started to bark fervently. Snarling barks. I walked over with my dish towel and spied the bear for the first time–all three or four hundred pounds of it–high-tailing it back into the woods. I was so sorry the boys missed the sight: a grown bear scared off by a cockapoo’s bark. Chester seemed rather proud of himself.


I’ll be wary tonight when with my flashlight–I usually walk Chester down the drive after dark–but I actually hope our bear makes his way back. Seeing how fearful he was opened my heart to him.

Here‘s a link to a group studying the black bears of Massachusetts in hopes we can learn to co-exist with them.

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posted July 26, 2006 at 5:35 pm

I think it’s lovely that your whole family vacations together, including the canine member(s). That picture of the guy in the woods sitting amongst the bears reminded me of that fascinating documentary about Timothy Treadwell that was rerun on Discovery the other night. That’s too much cohabitation for me. Living in harmony with wild beasts, yes. Pal-ling around with bears, no.>

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