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But the Bear Didn’t See Me

I was sitting by the glass slider door in our basement where it looks out on a bricked patio, and down to the lake. It was about 7:15 A.M. and I was reading the Bible. Our cat came down the stairs and headed toward me with a low growl I had not heard before. He came to the glass door and watched intently. A moment later a big black bear walked by just outside the door, ambled across the bricks and up the hillside. The cat must have seen it near our deck upstairs a few minutes before.


I saw the bear, but the bear did not see me. It was perhaps five feet from me as it crossed the patio to head over to our neighbors. Evidently it patrolled our neighborhood that morning, because our neighbor Edna reported her bird feeders were knocked down. One of ours was on the ground. I didn’t mind. I got to see the biggest bear I’d ever seen. A neighbor whose security camera caught a good picture estimated it was more than 300 pounds. I was thrilled. Seeing a bear that close is a real privilege.


A couple days ago I was driving home just beyond where farmland gives way to forest. I saw a young fawn standing stock still in the left lane of the pavement. On the right, its twin was standing just off the road. And a little farther toward me on the edge where the road ditch meets the trees stood the momma deer. All three stood still. I slowed down and came to a stop opposite the mother. For a moment nobody moved. All three animals were staring at me. I looked across at the doe. She looked directly at me, as if to say, “Are you going to hurt my baby?” It was one of those precious moments. Then the little white-spotted fawn finally got his wobbly legs moving and scampered across the road to join its family and all three disappeared into the woods. You can’t plan such an experience. You can only wait to see if it happens.


A pair of loons nest on our lake forty yards out from our dock on a floating nest near the opposite side of the cove. The loons have been taking turns sitting on their nest for the last month. A few days ago Mary Ann heard a lot of hooting and commotion and called me out to the deck. Out in the water near the nest were the loons and a tiny little furry blob floating next to them. After a few minutes into its first swim and the parents’ noisy celebration it clambered onto the back of the mom or dad where it settled into a comfortable rest. The other mate was swimming and diving for fish. The parent with the baby serenely floated on the surface. Over the next few days the family began to move around the lake and introduce their baby to other places to fish. Those first few moments were exquisite for us to see.


Each of these events took just a few moments, but I am so happy to have seen them. We saw them because we were available, and we took the time to stop and watch. Of course, we were lucky or blessed, too for them to happen near us. It makes me wonder how many beautiful things in life I have missed when I was in a hurry. Life is full of wonders, wonderful people as well as wonders in nature. The Bible urges us not to be anxious in several places. Psalm 127 describes our modern, hurried life this way, “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives sleep to his beloved.” I am retired, or at least partly retired, so I have less reason to be hurrying through life, and I see these spectacular scenes more often. But I hope that you, my reader, may also take time to see the wonders that occur in your world.


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