About two weeks ago, a family of black bears appeared, perhaps winter residents of the woodland behind us. Mother and three cubs. I wrote something about them on May 11. They would come daily for food, water, and frolic, even at midday on the day of the fire. So you can imagine our distress when the fire broke out very near their presumed den, and spread quickly in that back woodlot. Knowing that cubs climb trees in danger, and that between fire and firefighters the bears would be in a panic, and perhaps trapped there … A firefighter claimed to have seen the bears up a tree. We didn’t know what to think. After a few hours, the fire was out but the blackened 30 acres were rather grim, as were our hopes that the bears had survived. We steeled ourselves for the sad loss, frustrated further by our being unable to verify what we didn’t want to learn. A day, then another, passed. No bears.
Then they were back! The mother and three cubs! They spent the afternoon in the front yard, all captured in photos. It was as if to confirm to us: “We’re alright!” When they left, it was to head not south, where their old habitat had been, but north. Perhaps we will not see them again. Their range is enormous, scores of miles. But we were gifted with their presence and are forever grateful!