It’s raining softly and as I looked up from my desk, I was so intent on listening to the sound of water on the blue metal roof that I almost didn’t notice the bear ambling along just under my window. Almost. Because it looked up, looked at me, just as I looked out and met its eyes. I called up to John just as it loped around the side the house and into the woods.
Bears are not new to us here on the north end of the Sechelt peninsula. But lately I’ve seen more than usual. Last week, a bear—this one?— walked by in the late afternoon. One came up on the deck a few weeks ago and knocked a resting ladder to the ground, dragged out kale plants from the pot by the sliding doors. I don’t think it’s hunger. There’s tender green grass in abundance right now, new shoots of cow parnsip, sweet young stems.
Everything is both the same and changed. Yesterday, after a drive down to Sechelt to do the week’s shopping (carefully, with gloves and sanitizer), I wanted to be home and not have to leave again. Seeing the empty streets of the little town I’ve gone to most weeks for nearly 40 years made me sad. A few cars, yes, but most stores closed (and they’re small businesses, owned by people who in turn support the community that supports them), the restaurants dark, and most shoppers wearing masks in the grocery store. I know this will pass but I don’t think we’ll return to the world we knew. We shouldn’t. There was lots wrong with it and this pandemic demonstrates the great social inequalities, the gaps, the problems with supply chains that aren’t balanced in the right way. We’re seeing how populist leaders can’t do the work they were elected to do.
But this morning a bear ambled by my window and for a few minutes I remembered what I love about the world.