What do you see?
I see Barb
looking at me!
I left the house late in the afternoon:
the Golden Hour,
when light filters softly through the forest
and shadows lengthen.
Later than I normally exercise,
wild creatures might also be roaming.
So, as I ran/walked my route,
I read the mud for signs of bear tracks.
I scanned the forest.
I watched for movement.
I was alert but relaxed.
As I looped back toward home,
a dark shape rounded a bend
about 75 yards (69 meters) down the trail from me.
A large dog?
I stopped and watched:
hulking, swaying body,
Had I called it to me telepathically?
That was my first strange thought.
I felt calm and unafraid.
I stood in the middle of the trail
using my phone to snap 3 quick shots,
the bear now at 50 yards (45 meters).
I thought it would sense me, run off into the forest.
But it kept coming, head down,
a metronome of movement -
slow but steady.
I stepped off the trail and maneuvered a few steps through the trees
down a slight embankment.
I could hear the bear as it came closer, shuffling
through pine needles and fallen aspen leaves.
I turned to watch it pass.
Just as it came parallel to me,
continuing its measured stride,
it stepped off the trail,
into the forest on the other side.
Though it never turned its head to look at me,
it surely knew that I was there.
Returning to the trail,
I scanned the woods and finally sighted the bear moving away.
It was so well-camouflaged by dark shadows
that had I not seen it enter, I would have missed it.
Muddy paw prints marked the snow where it entered the forest.
I whispered goodbye and headed home.
Time occasionally stops
and within a brief interlude
we exist in a merging of spirit.
(The bear photos lost resolution when I cropped,
so I edited on Snapseed using Retrolux for a painted effect.)