A bear crosses the ridge this morning 50 feet from the house, a black hole of primal energy surfing the woods for the huckleberries that are beginning to ripen. We watch from the safety of glass as it passes and keep a weather eye on the dog, who sniffs the grass at the end of her lead, unaware of the animal. The bear is alone, no trailing cubs to spark an angry outburst, yet with its massive shoulders and haunch she is a force to avoid, like a tropical storm that could strengthen at any moment.
It’s trash day in our neighborhood and we wonder if she’s hunting for the garbage cans that line the road. We’ll know in a few minutes when we slide into cars for the trek to work. She lumbers down the slope toward the neighbor’s screened porch, unaware of the watchers at the edge of the woods, her legs like two humans moving under a blanket, her pace as easy as sleep.