You learn to pay attention

American black bear at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, June 2011 Photo by Hans Stieglitz via Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0

American black bear at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, June 2011
Photo by Hans Stieglitz via Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0

“When you are where wild bears live, you learn to pay attention to the rhythm of the land and yourself. Bears not only make the habitat rich, they enrich us just by being.”
Linda Jo Hunter

If I lived where my brother lives, I would certainly pay a lot of attention when I ventured out of the house.  I’d hate to surprise a bear, though I’d love to see one from a safe distance.

Watching the video embedded below, I realized why toy teddy bears became such a fixture of childhood.  The baby bear in the video is so playfully lovable that it would be hard not to want to get close…but with Mama Bear probably close by, that wouldn’t be a safe idea.

Our world is made rich by all sorts of animals, and paying attention to them can bring entertainment, joy and even wisdom.  What animals enrich your habitat?

One year ago today:

All the beasts


  1. singleseatfighterpilot

    Well said, Julia! I would attach the following link to a cell phone pic, and simply say “no comment”; but a few words of explanation do follow:

    I snapped this with my cell phone. My hiking boot is size 10 and 1/2 D width. Mr. Bear’s forepaw size? You be the judge 🙂

    • WHOA, see what I mean about paying attention? How would you like to bump into that guy by surprise? Was Heath with you? If so, I can just imagine he was beside himself, hopping around saying in dog language: “C’mon! Let’s find him! Lemme at him!” 😀

      • singleseatfighterpilot

        Yes, the ole “bear dog” was on the tracks first. Those two little ones at the bottom of the photo are his. When you realize Heath weighs around 90 lbs, you can easily see why I say the bruin is a 500 pounder.

        • Hee-hee, I just knew old Heath would be hot on the trail. Amazing to think that he might have been able to tree that bear, especially if he (Heath) had some of his brothers and sisters with him!

          • singleseatfighterpilot

            Not “Hee Hee”, but “Bow-ooo, Bow-ooo!”

            • 😀

              • Julia, “Eric-ism” # ??? Haha! 🙂

  2. Linda Blackford

    Life offers us so many blessings and delights if we only pay attention!

    • Linda, it’s so true. Somehow, the most discouraging or annoying or outright disgusting things seem to command most of our attention (with lots of help from the broadcast news) but if we pay attention to the right things, it’s like the lens comes into a beautiful focus.

      • Linda

        We can choose to be intentional about paying attention and we can also choose the good, the beautiful, the inspiring things to give our attention. It’s a daily choice, but it’s up to us! Thank you for the many positive and uplifting things you bring to our attention!

        • Linda, you’re welcome. I’m so happy you are here with us!

  3. bobmielke

    There’s nothing more intimidating than a protective mother, whether it be a bear of human mother. “Don’t mess with my kids”!

    • Bob, there are quite a few people I have left in my wake I have known in the past who would agree with you on that! I sometimes wonder whether Matt is directly responsible for 95% of my roaring temper assertiveness. An Oregon group called “Mothers from Hell” published several articles that helped me come to terms with the conflicts I faced advocating for Matt when he was young. In fact, during those years, Barbara Roberts was governor of Oregon, and I believe her political rise was directly tied to her advocacy for her son with autism. Motherhood inspires a sort of fearlessness that was not typically encouraged in women of my generation.

  4. When we moved to northeast Ct. my brother was in hope of seeing a bear in the wild. There have been sightings getting closer to our area each year. We have hawks overhead and fox and deer on the ground, but not a black bear yet. On our first Christmas here I, my oldest brother and his wife got my brother a stuffed black bear and a wood carved black bear. He loves them, but hopefully one day he’ll cross the black bear off his bucket list.
    He’s so interested in animals of all types that on one of his birthdays I bought him a St. Francis statue. He keeps it in a prominent place as well. I’m sure near the bear.

    • Alan, I’m wishing him a black bear sighting very soon! Maybe you can check with your local wildlife association for tips on where to look for one. Next to the bear is a perfect spot for St. Francis 😀 .

  5. raynard

    Julia in Northern NJ bears are known to wander in someone’s yard looking for food. I use to think about the one on TV Gentle Ben. Until one year while out in the woods during reserve duty, My 1st Sgt said” watch out for the bear’. One was creeping around our site looking for something to eat. This was in the boonies of Northern P.A. Let’s go back to’The good Ole days of Yogi & Boo-Boo lol be blesse

    • Well I knew NJ residents were said to be bold but I guess that includes even the bears! I didn’t realize there were any bears in NJ. I think bears can break into just about any kind of container looking for food. I’ve seen some pictures of car damage they did that were amazing. Yogi always said he was smarter than the average bear but all of them apparently know how to find where the food is.

  6. Julia, my salt water aquarium is such a pleasure, mainly because of the two clown fish that I’ve had since about 1989 (Hurricane Hugo era). It’s a simple 30 gallon world for ” Mr. & Mrs. Clown”, their’s exclusively. 🙂 I love the bright orange patch of eggs that will appear on a piece of coral and they monitor them; he fans them with his tail for airation and she hovers close by, as the protective mother. They hatch (so tiny) and get in the filtration and so it goes. Your aquatic lesson for the day! Haha. 🙂

    • Sheila, it amazes me that aquarium fish can live that long. You must take very good care of them! Or maybe Walter is a fish whisperer when you’re not around. 😀 Between him and the fish, you have a rainbow of colors to enjoy!

  7. Julia, I must add a P.S. to my comment.
    I have a fish keeper that comes every other week that maintains my aquarium. Animal Planet “Tanked” featured his 2200 gallon aquarium in September at our Horry County Museum. I asked him recently if he thought “Mr.& Mrs” were healthy. He commented that he never sees them because they hide when he starts cleaning. Maybe I should ask Walter. 🙂

    • Hey Sheila, Matt watches “Tanked” sometimes! You are lucky to have that guy as “staff” for your fish. If they hide when he comes that sounds like a sign of intelligence to me. I’m sure they don’t want to distract the help. 😀

  8. They seem pretty harmless when their that size don’t they? Very cute little tyke, especially when he was going round and round and round, hehe. I noticed another bear just off the green to the upper right, so I’d say the guy who’s walking on the green at the end was rather dumb. We’ve golfed in Jasper and they actually give you a ‘Bear Lesson’ before you Tee-off. They’re seen all over the course and you need to be respectful of their space.

    We’ve had a little bunny visiting all spring to the small spot of lawn we have in our back yard. Just a tiny guy. Lately I’ve seen a larger white bunny hop through the yard and wonder if it’s the same one. I love watching them rest in the yard and hop about safely munching on the grass. The kitties sit on their perch at the window chirping away. It’s fun and free entertainment. 😀 xo

    • Wow, that’s amazing to think that you need a bear lesson before golfing! How fun to have them roaming all over the golf course. I kind of like the idea of it because I always resented how these lovely, green (and EXPENSIVELY maintained) areas are off limits to anyone who isn’t playing golf. I always wish I could walk along those trails and I keep threatening to do it sometime at the golf course near here, but Jeff says it’s a no-no. I would almost want to learn how to golf just so I could walk along the golf course. More power to the bears! I got a big kick out of reading about B & P watching the bunnies. That is GREAT free entertainment! Pasha used to sit and stare out our kitchen door windows (which were low enough for him to see out) at all the birds and squirrels in the back yard. I used to tell Jeff that was Pasha’s TV; he would sit and watch out that window the way most people watch TV. Sometimes he would make these agitated sotto voce wails in frustration at not being able to get out and go after them. Then Jeff would let him out and he would chase after them like a Tasmanian devil, but he never caught them. I guess by the time we got to York Co. he was too old – thank goodness for that. My friends tell me tales of their retrievers bringing them dead birds – YUK – no thanks. Hey guess what – I just got the most fabulous looking package delivered to my door. I can’t wait to open it! My postal carrier was quite impressed! She never says much but she certainly complimented the artistry of the sender. 😀 I guess the postal carriers must get bored with all the “normal” mail. I think they must get a big kick out of seeing something attractive for a change. More on that package later! ❤ 👏 😊

      • Pasha tv! I totally understand. We also call our picture window Kitty TV. I know when something’s in the yard because they’ll both bound off the perch and with a scurry of claws on my hardwood floor, rickety-race over to another window to chirp some more. With tails flipping back and forth, I always have to go see what they’re on to. Blossum would love dearly to go out, but we’re very careful that they don’t. We’re too close to the river and she’d be gone and maybe even meet a coyote.

        The Jasper Park Lodge is extremely over-priced. As a Canadian who can’t afford to stay there, I find it sad and a little obscene. It was a big birthday year, we went with friends. But, for an overnight experience it’s lovely. We had a dozen Caribou wander past our lodge. They have really beautiful baskets hanging from lights and windows everywhere. The golf is hardly the big draw for me but Jim really enjoys that, so I participate with enthusiasm (even though I’m terrible at it). You don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy a round of golf Julia. Just rent a set and don’t keep score. I seldom do because I’m so bad, Ha. The bears get a deal, they get on the course for free, LOL

        I’m really thrilled your package arrived just in time for the weekend. I found a book with no cover at a used book store and thought of you because of the title 😀 Then I just had to make something for you. xoxo. I’m really needing a catch up with you. So I’m off to another post. Catch ya later alligator xK

        • I looked up the Jasper Park Lodge and it is stunning! What views! It would be so cozy to go there in winter. I had the most fun opening my package. What a unique combination of treats! I love my little Mana-tea, he will be so cute peeking over the edge of my cup. The banner is amazing! How on earth did you make those flowers from book pages? I know I will enjoy my tea time treats too, but that “cherry blossom crystals” tree takes the cake. I’ve never seen anything like it. I wondered if I should wait to “grow” it until just before you come, in case you miss the real thing if the timing is off. I told Jeff “I will have to write a blog post about these things.” 😀 Not sure when I’ll get to it with the holidays and more medical stuff (minor) coming up, but maybe in January…something to do during the long cold winter. As always, everything was so prettily wrapped I hated to open any of it. Thanks so much for sending me so much cheer!!

          • Good Morning my dear, I’m so glad you had fun. I always enjoy making little things for special friends. The wee banner may only be long enough to stretch across a few books on the shelf, but I was so smitten with the idea of making it out of an book of English Literature. If I ever get a moment, I’ll post about making it for you. I know you’re not a Coffee drinker, but I thought you could pick up some treats for your guys.

            You’re no doubt winding up for Thanksgiving and then Christmas. Are you hosting the holidays J? I’ve gotten my tree out of the box and up but not decorated. Our outside lights are 1/2 done and the porch 1/2 decorated. LOL I’m multi-tasking the whole event. You go ahead and grow your little tree whenever your heart desires. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. One of those serendipity moments when I spotted it. I think I shrieked, OMgosh! hahaha. I am so looking forward to spring, it’ll make this Canadian winter so much more doable 😀 Big Hugs xoxo K

            • I was delighted to get the Starbucks card – I like to get the mocha coffees as a treat (that’s where I got the idea of concocting a cheaper more frugal version at home with hot chocolate mix) and besides, Starbucks has some wonderful teas too, at least they used to the last time I was there, which has been quite awhile. I was referring to the card AND the sweets when I mentioned the tea treats! No way am I going to use it on anyone else 😀 especially since Jeff and Matt don’t drink any kind of caffeine (except tea). I am later getting started on Christmas than ever this year, except for last year when Jeff was in the hospital. Usually I have the trees up by Thanksgiving, but this year we are only doing the Alexandria tree (the York tree is a way over the top production in terms of how long it takes to set up) so I will not be able to get to it for awhile. I think your decorating schedule makes sense. I like to take my time with it and enjoy it, so I start early and try not to rush. I’m sure my Cherry Blossom Crystal tree will brighten the winter days! Thanks again!

    • Anon E. Moose

      Boomdee, are you saying your bunny may be a Snowshoe Hare?

      • Hey, until your comment, I had never heard of Snowshoe Hares — but I looked it up and I LOVE what I found. I had no idea bunnies could change with the landscape just like chameleons. So do all the Boomdeeville Bunnies turn white in winter? That’s so cool! (No pun intended.)

      • Dear Mr Moose, I Googled for an image and yes, our bunnies look just like that.

        • Oh, goodie! What fun. Magical bunnies.

  9. I’ve never thought about how southern bunnies might *not* be white in the winter. Boomdeeville bunnies are all white currently and will be until all the snow melts. They usually start changing back to a tan colour in early June. I posted a video last April of one I was following. I think it might have been The Easter Bunny 😉

    • WOW, this is so amazing to me! I had no idea! But come to think of it, the Easter Bunny is always portrayed as being white, as far as I can remember. They don’t get their “suntan” until later. I learn so much from this blog!

      • Sun tan !! LOL that’s funny J. I will forever think of them as getting a ‘tan’ in the summer…:D hehehehe

        • Now you know where the term “beach bunny” came from! 😀

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