Below the cut-block

I was walking alone yesterday morning up on the Malaspina trail, near the cut-block, and saw a bear in the distance. When I looked, she looked back — and I know it was a female because when she turned to run up the slope, I saw her cub at her heels. Here she is:

I found her scat on the road on my way back down from the trail:

And then, nearby, her cub’s droppings:

I thought, There’s a story here, a woman walking alone and seeing the bear and her child on the grassy slope, a woman thinking about her son’s marriage in a week’s time, seeing the boulders overturned on the trail where the bear has showed how grubs can be taken this way on summer mornings,  thinking and eating huckleberries, listening to ravens who have returned to their communal roost area with this year’s young, the smell of elk in the dry air. A story told every year, shaped by walking and thinking, and tucked away in a pocket for the colder months to come.

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