Just back from the daily woodlot hike with Bob as scout and Sweetheart and Kokomo slowly making their way on the path at cat~power speed, meaning the kitten could bolt at any minute, or grapple twenty feet up a preferred ash tree (not cherry, don't like), but most days it's a meander for the two, now with Kokomo off blue leash it was trained on for a year. Some days when he wants to be a scamp Sweetheart latches him back onto the leash to hold him close. Most days he's sauntering and stopping at every grass blade to chew, like goat.
Halfway through the hike, coming over the rise, I see Janine's stone cairn I built a year ago, just pieces of a fading early sunshine on it as it is at this early hour, the rainclouds and all, but what's that black and large and wasn't there yesterday? Why, black bear. We saw one another at exactly the same moment, eye to eye, his snout and my taller-than-him. So what am I, he seems to wonder. 'Oh yeah, one of those two-legged-creeps I heard about'. I'm saying to myself, 'Black bear. . . been awhile.' I think it best to step backwards ten paces and lean against a tall pine tree, watching him. He or she thinks it best to swing its head down like a pony and skedaddle about twenty feet up the slope to a pair of sugar maples, then stop, turn and watch me awhile. We're both watching. I start a squirrel call chortle to keep the bear's attention on me, or the sound, so Sweetheart and Kokomo can catch up and Sweetheart grabs kitten into her arms and cautiously walks toward me knowing from my standingstill something is present with us. She can't see it until she sees it, then her face widens and glows.
"Hi, Janine," is what she says.
J picked up her mail in bearsville, ny