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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Susan Kay Anderson: Bears and Berries


American Black Bear (Ursus americanus), Lake Louise, Alberta: photo by Harvey Barrison, 5 September 2008

The Umpqua, the Rogue. The country, rugged, the water soft. There are bears here and lots of willows. The river smell enthralls, drugs.


It is time to make red currant and raspberry jam.


The summer bell rings in the monastery tower all over the hillside. It is time to pray that I left enough berries for the bears.

This female American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) had a small cub with her but the cub was so small it is hidden in the undergrowth. The cub was bounding around everywhere and was impossible to capture in the darkness of these woods. You can just see the top of the cub's back near the tree to the left of the mother bear. A week prior to this image being taken, the mother had two cubs, but a local ranger told us that the other cub was recently killed by a grizzly bear. The pair are fattening up on huckleberries
: photo by Alan Vernon, 18 September 2010

American Black Bear (Ursus americanus), Lake Louise, Alberta: photo by Harvey Barrison, 5 September 2008

American Black Bear (Ursus americanus), Lake Louise, Alberta: photo by Harvey Barrison, 5 September 2008

American Black Bear (Ursus americanus), Lake Louise, Alberta: photo by Harvey Barrison, 5 September 2008

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Black Bear cub (Ursus americanus): photo by R. I. Bridges, 24 August 2005 (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

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A brown American Black Bear cub (Ursus americanus) seen west of Boulder, Colorado: photo by Hustvedt, 28 April 2008

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American Black Bear cub (Ursus americanus): photographer unknown, n.d.; image by Kelson, 5 May 2008 (NOAA)


Cinnamon-coloured North American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) eating dandelions in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta: photo by Traveler100, July 2011

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American Black Bear (Ursus americanus), Mount Rainier National Park, Washington: photo by Walter Siegmund, 12 August 2008

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American Black Bear (Ursus americanus), Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
: photo by Walter Siegmund, 12 August 2008

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North American Black Bear (Ursus americanus), crossing the James Bay Road, at the southern end of Hudson Bay, Canada. At this time of year, the bears are about to enter hibernation and are collecting as much food as possible: photo by Fenerty, 20 October 2007


Susan Kay Anderson said...

It was suddenly crowded
in the wilderness

that summer hiking
down the Rogue River Trail.

Denise and I were visited
by our future husbands
in the guise of Ursus americanus--
sniffing all around the tent.
Robert Christie, Ottmar Geitner.

We managed to scare
the bear
with Sierra cups
and shouting
but it hid and waited
across Whiskey Creek
head in paws
a dog, a god
until we left
so it could really
get to know us
at least to Blossom Bar.

TC said...

Obviously you are a woman who knows how to keep a trail from becoming overcrowded. Scout lore has it that if a person is going to die on the Rogue River it will most likely be at Blossom Bar.

But it won't be the bears did it. They'll be too busy catching fish.

TC said...

(Or nibbling the azaleas.)

Unknown said...

This is just great -- lovely, touching and generous. In Tuxedo Park, New York (the name Tuxedo is apparently a corruption of the Lenape word denoting bears and we're quite close to Bear Mountain), we see and love our bears. (Which makes us part of a minority of, say, ten.) No matter, we have those people, the bears and whatever deer and turkey are left for company. Curtis

Wooden Boy said...

Thank you, Susan and TC, for these words and images.

"The river smell enthralls, drugs." We don't have a grand river in this City and the reek of the canals can be very dispiriting at times.

I'll keep the Rogue River in my head for a while.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

I've died a thousand times
at Blossom Bar
in the crashing sound
of the rapids--
their fresh mists
cooling everything
down just past
Mule Creek Canyon
and its enticing
drops into boiling pots
in the Rogue
where men have lived
hacking away at the gold
becoming ghosts
finally resting
sitting with one leg
crossed over
the other

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Bears have had a bad time over here in Hellas; once plentiful in the mountains of Northern Greece and thus easy prey for hunters and gypsies who would capture and “teach” them to “dance” for the natives, they dwindled down almost to extinction until one man—Giannis Boutaris—decided to use his money to help save them. Here’s a link to the video.

(By the way, Boutaris is now mayor of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city.)

TC said...

Good for you and your little company of ten plus friends, Curtis. That constitutes a community of elective affinity with life.

WB, Susan's had the Rogue running through my head these past several weeks. My head badly needs the irrigation.

Susan, it was curious to learn that old man Wooldridge created Blossom Bar (as currently constituted) with dynamite. Then again, perhaps that is the legendary "Way of the West"(?). (If it's in your way, blow it up.)

Below is Vassilis's link, enabled for clicking. The history of the brutal treatment these animals have received as toys of humans is writ upon them forever. Heart-wrenching. "They are not able to go back to nature."

Saving the Dancing Bears of Greece

Dancing bears and "party bears" of other countries in the same part of the world have fared less well. The three remaining dancing bears of Serbia had been slated for rescue by a Bulgarian animal relief group. At the last minute the Serbian authorities refused to allow the transfer. A country in whose recent history cruelty seems endemic and general... but torturing an old, blind bear... bad advertisement for this species.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Bear, what color are you?
A blue with white
violet rainbow
lumbers across
the green landscape
the color of a cave
the den of intention
dark matter
the most important substance
they've recently discovered
and reported in a distracted
manner way up close over there.