Sunday, June 10, 2007

Totally awesome wildlife sighting

The kids and I went to church this morning, for the first time in...well, it's been a while. It seems like lately I get more inspiration from nature, and things like what I saw today, than from being inside listening to a sermon. But the people in our small rural church are wonderful, and it restores my faith in local humankind to worship there once in a while.

On the way there, I saw something big in the road. At first I thought it was a 4-wheeler, but it wasn't kicking up dust. As I drove closer, I made out the outline of an adult black bear. Cool. As many bear as there are around here, I rarely see them. Then, even closer, I saw two bear cubs, the size of small dogs. Way cool, I'd never seen bear cubs before! Mom and cubs made their way to the right side of the road and disappeared in the brush. But then, I spotted a third cub hesitantly making its way across the road, long after the others. Mama was probably desperately calling to it from the other side.

I rolled to a stop, eyeing the spot where the third cub had left the road, and suddenly I saw: it had climbed a tree, and was now eye level, twenty feet away! As the kids and I sat there, marveling at this little cub innocently looking at us, Calvin noticed another, curious cub who had made its way out of the woods. It climbed a tree near the cub we were watching! Two bear cubs, as cute as anything could be, frozen in place and watching our vehicle.

Of course, I did not have my camera with me. But if I had, and had been foolish enough to get out of the van to get a closer picture, I probably would have met face to face with Mama Bear, and the transaction would not have ended well for me. So we enjoyed the sight of the cubs for a moment longer, before continuing on to church.

I felt blessed, though I was only halfway to church. I felt the presence of a God, one who cares about bears and woodcock and all the lilies of the field, who makes sure they get by despite our vain human efforts to conquer all.


RuthieJ said...

What a neat story! I'm glad all of you were able to see the bears. A free show like that is worth being late to church for.

MojoMan said...

Such sightings must help make living in the country so special. It's good you taught the kids a lesson about staying a safe distance under such circumstances.

Jane said...

Thanks for the important reminder of God's role in our lives!

momadness said...

Wow, lucky you, and thanks for relating to us; I can just picture it. It is nothing I will ever see here in the big city; I hope all works out well for the bears and any humans they should happen to cross paths with. Am certainly interested in your thoughts on whether they had wandered far from home or was home likely nearby?

~Jennifer said...

Wow, that would have been quite a thrill!

Deb said...

RuthieJ- Actually, we weren't even late. But we had a good story to tell!

Mojoman- I was thinking to myself, how many kids get to see stuff like this? It almost makes up for the time they spend playing video games. :)

Jane- It kind of had me thinking, "everything is just as God intended it to be."

momadness- I don't know a whole lot about the home range of bears, but I'm guessing at this stage of family life it's not too far. The little ones certainly aren't built for speed.

Jennifer- It was a thrill; I was giddy the whole rest of the way to church!

Floridacracker said...

It never fails. If you leave the house megapixelless, you will encounter something amazing.
Lucky you tho, and how neat for the kids to see those cubs.
Three is a lot for one bear isn't it?
We have them here, but I have never seen a FL black bear.

Lynne said...

Lucky you and cool that your kids got to see the bears! The last line of your post reminded me of that old Tennessee Ernie Ford hymn
"His eye is on the Sparrow". It was one of my Dad's favorites.

momadness said...

I surely hope all will be well with the bears!

greg said...

How very cool! Congrats. I've never seen a black bear in the wild... I'm glad you were safe in your car when you did!

Deb said...

FC- It's the law of the camera. I talked to The Hermit today, and he agreed three was extraordinary.

Lynne- That's kind of the verse I was thinking of, although I heard, in my head, Ulysses Everett McGill saying "consider the god dang lilies of the field!" (from O Brother Where Art Thou).

momadness- They do well around here...and then there's hunting season. What bear could resist a pile of day old jelly doughnuts in the middle of the woods? :( I hope this brood does well...but not too well, so my bird feeder gets left alone!

Greg- It's amazing how rare bear sightings are even when you live in the woods that are full of them.

Funny thing, we heard from a ranger once up by Isabella that the nuisance bears they trapped there got turned loose in the northern suburbs, around Carlos Avery. :)

kate said...

We used to see bears sometimes when we lived up on Aitkin County Road 2. Usually they emerged only when relatives from Indiana were visiting, as though to prove what a wild land we lived in! I always listened for them when I was out picking wild raspberries. I figured I didn't want to inadvertently get between a mama and her babies!
I can imagine what fun it was to see this bear family!