Antidote: Wild Bears

When I visited Michigan as a kid with my family, years ago, we saw a man with a t-shirt marked with the phrase Say something GOOD about Detroit. These days, I often feel that way about the news. Or, worse, just say something not underpinned with corruption or misery.

So here’s my something: nearly 70 curious folks showed up in tiny Woodbury’s town hall last night to hear New Hamphire’s Ben Kilham speak about his experience raising orphaned bear cubs, reacclimatizing these creatures into the wild, and his decades of studying and admiring these beautiful woodland mammals. On a hot July evening, in this historic one-room building, friends and strangers listened, asked numerous questions, bought books. The Kilhams themselves reminded me of my parents, with an IMAX filmmaker in tow who I thought at first was their son, navigating their route and arranging a late post-presentation dinner plan.

Afterwards, lingering and chatting under a floodlight, we passed around the leftover donut holes and swatted mosquitoes. Summer. July. Vermont.

In late winter
I sometimes glimpse bits of steam
coming up from
some fault in the old snow
and bend close and see it is lung-colored
and put down my nose
and know
the chilly, enduring odor of bear…
From Galway Kinnell’s “The Bear”

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