My good friend grew up in a tiny town in California. Way back when, her parents bought a house right on the shore of Lake Tahoe, and once a year, my friend invites a few of us to come stay and have our own little writers’ colony. Every morning we get up and watch the sun rise over the mountains (well, some of us do). Then everyone goes to her own little nook and writes. Then we fool around. We take hikes, hug trees (the sugar pines smell like caramel and vanilla) and swim in the frozen-snow-water (okay, some of us just jump in, scream, and jump out). In the evening we read aloud what we’ve written that day, and then, if we can stay awake, we go out and feel very tiny beneath the starry sky. I mean–can you think of a more perfect life?
And all this time, we are watching for bears. The woods there are full of bears, everyone says so. Now and then when we hike I pretend to be swooning over the wildflowers, but then I spin around really fast, certain I’ll spy one! I never do.
BUT…you know how it goes. Very often, just when you’ve given up hoping–when you think you’ll never know how to finish a story, or never learn to do a trick on your skateboard, or never ever see a real live bear–whoa! The morning we were going to leave, I was talking to my friend when her eyes began to widen and her jaw to drop. I turned around and there he was, a lovely, lazy teenager of a brown bear, loping across the lawn in the late morning light, no doubt just waked up and on his way to breakfast.