Walking this morning I saw two baby black bears. My dog, Song, spooked them in the underbrush and they quickly scaled a thick pine. You could hear the scratching as they scrambled awkwardly through tree limbs, not pausing to look back. Song returned to the trail surprisingly quick, though obviously a watchful sow wasn’t far away. Some encounters we aim to avoid. I watched a moment longer, then turned for the pond.
Black bear sightings are sacred to me, like heron or moose tracks. In the presence of those sleek, tumbling bodies thought ends and the divine – the given, what is – is all there is. As promised. I remain grateful for weeks, sometimes longer. Often, the gratitude itself will end thought. It’s hard to talk about, but I try. I promised I would, so . . .
We have begun harvesting rhubarb. Every year we say we will put some up and every year we don’t because it all ends up in pies. Don’t fight your hunger! In late winter Chrisoula bought me some old cookbooks – early twentieth century, one a collection of Shaker recipes – and summer baking is informed accordingly. Yesterday’s pies had a maple butter crumble topping. Gifts abound, always, but we must look. And create. I mean, pies, yes, but love, too. Maybe mostly love.
Later this morning I will drive to Vermont with the old dog’s ashes and scatter them on Mount Ascutney. He died in the living room on his favorite blanket. I sat quietly a few feet away, sad but accepting. We are ready when we are ready. Coming home I will buy bread and cheese at Baba A Louis. Jake was a good friend and that has always been a sacred mountain, one I often climbed with him, what seems like long ago. It makes me cry a little, thinking about it.
Thus the days pass. Want leads inevitably to disappointment and yet. The external satisfies none of us and yet. Like Emily Dickinson I walk a little further into the gorgeousness, inexplicably joyful, content entirely to be teased by the mystery for yet another day. Heaven waits. By the footstool of the lesser angels – muttering, scribbling – I say let it.