June 2014- The Bear, My Frenemy June 01 2014

The Bear, my Frenemy   Is any animal represented as divergently as the bear?  We put cute, soft ones in the crib with baby, and yet we know them to be wild, predatory creatures.  My own experiences with bears are similarly divided.  As a small child, I cuddled my teddy bear so hard that it lost a limb.  Instead of grieving the loss, I decided to celebrate that my bear had given birth to a cub.  Oh, how I’d love to have that youthful optimism back.

These days, as I prepare for a season of backpacking in wilderness areas, I think of bears with fear, especially mamas and their cubs.   As much as I love to watch these beautiful, wild creatures, I think it best to avoid them.   Luckily, I live in the Olympic Peninsula, where only black bears inhabit the mountains.  Here they are mild-mannered, like the other species that live here; we are lucky to have few snakes, mosquitos, poison oak or ivy.  Hiking here carries few risks, with rain and cold being the most prevalent and predictable.   And so I am able to reconcile the bear in my mind.  They are soft and beautiful, good mamas, and live in the nicest of places.  Surely they deserve a spot in our hearts as well as our crib or family bed.    But in the wild, well, I’ll respect and admire them from a distance. I hope your summer plans include some time in the wild, and as many bears (and berries) as you like. Fondly, Alison, founder of Kata Golda    

Giveaway:  I’d love to hear your bear story.  Drop me a line with your tale.  I’ll pick my three favorites and send you a new Bear DIY Kit with materials and instructions.  Instead of polar bears, this kit will make black bears like the ones I see in the Olympic Mountains, and pictured below.