Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pasha Cat and the Morning Bear

the brave forest cat

Most days I feel the presence of creatures in the forest; 
see the evidence of moose having visited the garden, 
the tops off the tall, wild evening primrose bitten off, 
and enormous hoof prints in the dry earth. More 
often than bumping into my wild neighbors, I see 
their tracks and hear their evening rustlings 
and night songs. 

Today, however, was a lucky day of encounter. I had just let 
Pasha out, got the coffee going, and happened to glance out to 
the path in the moss garden. Pasha was frozen and about 
two feet from him was a large, inky-black shadow. At first I 
thought it was just that, but the ink black of a bear is quite 
particular. I moved toward the porch door as Pasha jumped 
toward the bear who went dashing off into the forest, 
Pasha following!

the morning bear 

I went for the camera, knowing the path the bears usually 
travel and where I might glimpse it again. I quietly walked 
outside and found the youngish bear crouched beside the 
black compost bin, abandoned for years because everyone 
out there just knocks it over to get at what's inside... 
now I just have an open heap and share. 

A young bear, about the size of a large black lab,
 got quietly up and started slowly towards me. Bears don't 
see well, and I was backlit, I might have looked like mamma. 
She came a few steps closer, looking intensely at me, 
curious. thought about the camera I was holding, 
but was in the moment of encounter, 
all else had faded away. 

I said hello, a good way to let her know I 
wasn't mamma, she got my scent and froze, 
wide eyed, and then turned and crashed off 
through the trees. Above is a pretty bad photo 
of her behind... a black shadow amongst the trees. 
If you click on it to see it bigger, you'll see 
it a little better. On the left is the bear, on the 
right is the compost bin. I wonder if I was the 
first human she encountered? It seemed that way. 

Pasha kitty came wandering out of the forest, 
as if all was normal.... and, I guess if you're 
a brave kitty in the forest, all WAS normal. 
I can only imagine who he has met on 
his travels around this land.


He never ceases to amaze me, my Pasha friend. He's so 
affectionate and cuddly with me, a very social cat who 
likes the company of humans and other cats, yet when a 
bear almost steps on him, he assesses the situation 
and decides to stand his ground. He's pretty cool...

Here are a few photos from my weekend away 
in Rhode Island visiting friends and the beach, 
and a painting that relates. I do love clouds and 
skies! The above photo is not unlike many of my 
oil paintings from days gone by. Not sure I'm 
done with cloud paintings.....

"Northern Lights", watercolor, 2008


steven said...

two spectacular tales, spectacular skies! wow thankyou. steven

Windsongs and Wordhoards said...

Amazing bear encounter, its lovely that you're so in tune with the wild - living in a forest its rhythms must become part of your waking and breathing, or perhaps you become part of the forest - another creature dwelling in its shadows...
Lovely painting...

Valerianna said...

steven - yes, particularly amazing skies... thank the sky gods, not me!

Carrie - yup, something like that. When I first moved here, I told my friends that if they didn't hear from me for a while, they best come look for me in the forest, I would be the human looking tree growing moss...

Valerianna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Umā said...

Oh yes, that sure is a RI sky (sigh).

The thought of little Pasha chasing a bear is so funny, what a brave cat! Animals don't remember to be scared like us (at least me).

Karen said...

Amazing! How wonderful to see a bear! What a brave Pasha. :)
And those skies..pure magic! x

Unknown said...

The brave forest cat Pasha is no doubt a shirt-tail relative of our old man of the woods, William Wallace, a large, friendly, Norwegian Forest Cat. Your watercolors are lovely, especially love 'Gold Afternoon'.
Thanks for the walk in another part of the woods!

annell4 said...

Yes, kitties are very brave, but your kitty might be the bravest kitty in the world? And what lovely photographs and I also love skies! Thank you.

Valerianna said...

m - yes, skies by the coast are something! A brave kitty Pasha used to be balanced by the incredibly scared Sophia... she died a few years ago, but really, she was afraid of everything!

Karen - seeing a bear is truly a gift, once I learned not to fear them. I was in awe of the sky that evening and glad to have remembered my camera!

susan - thanks for stopping by. Pasha came to me from the shelter 14 years ago... I assumed he was a Maine Coon mix as my last cat was, but have actually suspected maybe he has Norwegian Forest cat in him, or, maybe because some think Maine Coons are descendants of Norwegians, he seems similar to me. Anyway, I love both breeds... for their wildness.

anell - Pasha may be brave when it comes to bears, but he HATES the vacuum cleaner and is very frightened of snakes...

Murgatroyd said...

Just stopped by via Yarn Soup's blog... lovely photo's!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

How perfectly wonderful. Those encounters with nature always make me feel more alive and connected with something bigger than me. To lock eyes with a baby bear!

rivergardenstudio said...

Oh, I love your bear story, and what a brave kittly you have. I want to thank you for stopping by and bringing me to your beautiful paintings, photographs and words! Hope your weekend is lovely... filled with your wild woods and streams of sunlight... roxanne

Jo Potter said...

It is amazing to me, when I think of you having bears in your back yard. The only type of bears we have in England are little badgers!
Your photos are wonderful of the magical forest with the little bear face peaking through the bushes and I love your forest cat, Pasha. >^.^<
Really beautiful sky photos of Rhode Island and of your watercolour. Wow, thank you for sharing all this natural magic.

Valerianna said...

Murgatroyd- thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed your visit, hope to see you here again...

Pamela and Edward - That bear was back yesterday, looking for Pasha? I'm beginning to suspect they might have been playing the day I saw them together... Pasha was just so casual about it all! And, yes, encounters such as that are so very expansive.

Roxanne - thanks for visiting! A quiet weekend in the woods, indeed, with a field trip to the river to swim planned for this afternoon....

Jo- glad you're back in blogland! And, it was amazing to me when I first moved here, when I finally understood just how many bears are running around these woods. LOTS! Its especially lovely to meet the young ones, they are very cute and curious.

stephanie dosen said...

oooo little bear!!
the story seems WILD.
whenever i come here i get so inspired
and feel so peaceful. i love your workspace
outside. then your paintings.. the spirals
the lights.. storms.. dusk... enchanting ♥

(Karen) Lisa Daley said...

Wow - Great Bear story!

Clare Wassermann said...

wow I have just discovered your blog. What an amazing place you live in and your pictures leave me breathless. I shall have to follow you and dance in your footsteps.
I have recently seen and blogged about the stone stacks I saw here on the Isles of Scilly - they are new to me...then there are some on your blog. I find them very peaceful x

layers said...

what an exciting encounter with a baby bear-- and you have such beautiful images-- and a cool cat.

Valerianna said...

faerie finder- I love that you feel enchantment when coming here.... I do, too, in this place, and it is my mission that others feel it when they come here. But I didn;'t expect that it could happen through the web!

Karen - thanks, yes, its lovely when I see bears.

Clare - welcome! Lovely to imagine you dancing in my footsteps. I do love stone stacks - cairns. You can look up Andy Goldsworthy to see the king of all stack makers, if you haven't yet!

layers- the bear has been back, and yes, I must agree, a very cool cat!

Sharmon Davidson said...

It's so funny that your cat chased a bear! I have three largish dogs and they freak out when they hear a coyote howl or the scream of a bobcat... we have bears out in the country, but I don't think they've ever encountered one. Your cat is definitely not a wimp! Maybe he/she can come and be a "guard kitty" for my dogs!

Valerianna said...

Hi Sharmon - no, not a whimp, my Pasha-cat... when we first moved here, Pasha saw a bear from a distance and went up the road for the rest of the day. I finally had to go capture him and haul him home kicking and wiggling the whole way! So, 6 years later, he's learned a thing or two about bears!