Black Bears, Chokecherries, Cubs, and Grubs

 

cinn 8-19 2This past August in Northern New Mexico, the black bears came out of their caves, down the mountains,  into the apple orchards (and, yes, sometimes into cabins). It had been a fertile winter, and each female was accompanied by one, often two, babies, who would mew and chortle as they climbed high in the apple trees, stripped clean the chokecherry bushes along the Sapello River, and searched for grubs under rotting logs.   Don't believe anyone who tells you that bears only come out at dawn or dusk because these baby bears were  like puppies,  playing and eating all through the day, with only short breaks for naps.

"Destruction" by Joanne Kyger (accompanied by photos I took this summer)

 8-8 mama bear copy

First of all do you remember the way a bear goes through a cabin when nobody is home? He goes through the front door. I mean he really goes through it. Then he takes the cupboard off the wall and eats a can of lard.

8-8 apple bear copy
He eats all the apples, limes, dates, bottled decaffeinated
coffee, and 35 pounds of granola. The asparagus soup cans fall to the floor. Yum! He chomps up  Norwegian crackers stashed for the winter. And the bouillon, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, onions, potatoes.
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                                                He rips the Green Tara poster from the wall. Tries the Coleman Mustard. Spills the ink, tracks in the flour. Goes up stairs and takes a shit. Rips open the water bed, eats the incense and drinks the perfume. Knocks over the Japanese tansu and the Persian miniature of a man on horseback watching
a woman bathing.
8-10 bear 1

                           Knocks Shelter, Whole Earth Catalogue, Planet Drum, Northern Mists, Truck Tracks, and
Women's Sports into the oozing water bed mess.
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                                                                     He goes
down stairs and out the back wall. He keeps on going for a long way and finds a good cave to sleep it all off. Luckily he ate the whole medicine cabinet, including stash of LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, Amanita, Benzedrine, Valium and aspirin.
8-10 bear running
Here are some facts I learned about black bears from the American Bear Association:

Black Bear Facts

Did you know that although they are called black bears, colors can range from black to cinnamon brown, silver-blue and, occasionally, even white? The white bears are called "Spirit" or "Kermode" bears.

Ten Fast Facts About Black Bears

1.  eat mostly berries, nuts, grasses, carrion, and insect larvae 2. have color vision and a keen sense of smell 3.  are good tree climbers and swimmers 4.  very intelligent and curious 5.  can run up to 35 miles per hour 6.  weigh an average of 125 to 600 pounds 7.  go without food for up to 7 months during hibernation in northern ranges 8.  usually give birth to 2 to 3 cubs during the mother's sleep every other year 9.  can live over 25 years in the wild (average age in the wild is 18) 10.  are typically shy and easily frightened

Watching the bears this summer, I felt honored by their presence, as if they had opened my eyes and ears and allowed me a small peek into their world. I wish them well, I hope that now that the apples are gone they are feasting on acorns, fattening up for their long winter nap.

I wish them to be safe and to sleep well.

 

 

 

Charles Bukowski, Praying Mantis, and the Meaning of Life

Hatching preying mantis repel out of the egg sac One summer morning I watched as over 100 miniscule pale green praying mantis repelled out of their two-inch long egg sac. Within an hour they had dispersed around my garden, ready to take  unwary insects. For weeks I would find them, under a leaf, sitting on the red petal of a rose, twice the size from the day before, barbed front legs held in prayer, ready to pounce.

So, how do praying mantis, rapscalllion poet Charles Bukowski, and the meaning of life all fit together? That is your question for the day.

Here's Bukowski repelling out of his egg sac, singing his answer to the meaning of life as he goes.

the last song 

driving the freeway while listening to the Country and Western boys sing about a broken heart and the honkytonk blues, it seems that things just don't work most of the time and when they do it will be for a short time only. well, that's not news. nothing's news. it's the same old thing in disguise. only one thing comes without a disguise and you only see it once, or maybe never. like getting hit by a freight train. makes us realize that all our moaning about long lost girls in gingham dresses is not so important after all.

And if that whets your appetite, try this one locks

I moved into a new place and decided to change the locks . . .

 So, do you see a connection, or am I just day-dreaming, imagining myself a green bit of rapscalllion poet, repelling through life?

Writers, Word Lovers, and Folklorists United: Green River Writers Workshops Returns to Las Vegas, New Mexico

Alice, Lorry and Gerry are all smiles as they get ready for the Sixth Annual Green River Writers Workshop in Las Vegas, New Mexico

  Come Write in Las Vegas this Summer Green River Writers Workshop, “Turning Memory into Story,” returns for the sixth year to the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico, July 18-21, 2013

Facilitators are native New Mexican, Alice Winston Carney, author of Cowgirl in Search of a Horse, her story of growing up in Las Vegas, and Gerald and Loretta Hausman, former residents of Tesuque and authors of many books about native culture. All three, graduates of New Mexico Highlands University, are experienced writers, editors, and creative mentors.

Using memory as a starting point, the workshop focuses on the craft of storytelling through memoir, fiction, historical writing, and poetry.  Both experienced and beginning writers are welcome.

“What makes our workshops unique, and why people have returned year after year, is that we encourage the participants to write and expand their skills in an environment that is intimate, supportive, and non-competitive,” says Carney.

$285 ($300 for registration after June 1) (Room and board not included) Workshop limited to 15, fills early Time: 7 pm Thursday July 18-3pm Sunday July 21. Contact: Alice Carney, Green River Writers Workshops (916) 947-0983     Email: carney.aw@gmail.com greenriverwritersworkshops.com

 

 

Mary Oliver: Why I Wake Early

CIMG1017 Why I Wake Early By Mary Oliver

Hello, sun in my face. Hello, you who made the morning and spread it over the fields and into the faces of the tulips and the nodding morning glories, and into the windows of, even, the miserable and the crotchety—

best preacher that ever was, dear star, that just happens to be where you are in the universe to keep us from ever-darkness, to ease us with warm touching, to hold us in the great hands of light— good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.

(Thanks to my daughter Megan who sent me this poem and whose love and beauty brings sun to my face every morning).

 

Overcome Writer's Block: Get up close to nature

Tulip and aphidsOn the day that you think you can't think of anything to write about, go outside and look with new eyes. Get down low and up close.  Ask yourself some new questions: What if I were an aphid, living on a tulip? What would my world look like? Feel like? What does the nectar of a tulip taste like? If I were an aphid, would I know that I looked like an emerald gem on an opal field? I could write a book on the life of an aphid on a tulip. What can your write when you look at the world from a new perspective?