Pretty much every time I go camping (and miss a few days on the blog) I leave a post up joking about how I’m off to get eaten by a bear, or words to that effect.
All purely for fun, since I hardly ever even see bears. I think, as of August, I could count the number of bear sightings in my life on one hand, with the most recent almost a decade ago.
Well, chalk up one more as of September, and I don’t think I need another one for a good long time.
We thought the bear was ambling up the stream that ran behind our cabin. My father spotted it off the back porch, and said “quick, there’s a bear – go around to the parking lot and you can see it!”
So off I hurried, and while we were all moving to get a better angle for bear-watching, the bear changed his own angle and ambled on up to the parking lot.
I came around the corner of the cabin from one side; the bear came around it from the other. We looked at each other from about five feet away, made a mutual decision along the lines of “Oh shit!”, and hurried off in opposite directions.
So: as close to a bear as I need to be for a while. He was a young’un, shorter than me when he was down on all fours, but here’s the strange part: I will remember the bear’s face for a long, long time, in almost perfect detail.
It’s completely fixed. I remember what his eyes looked like, his nose, the teeth we could see, and particularly the way his ears pricked up like a startled dog’s. If I had the technical ability I could render a police artist sketch of that bear no problem.
The rest of the encounter is a bit of a blur (I’m not exactly sure where my mother was this whole time, for example, other than that it was behind me with the bear solidly on the other side of my body, which suited her just fine). But the face I’ve got.
It was pretty cute, once I was definitely not going to get mauled.
So that’s a moment I’m going to be carrying around picture-perfect for a while. What’re yours?