Above is a Canadian black bear of the smallish variety in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. We spotted her/him very near the road eating slugs from a stump and had time to snap the shot.
A couple days later, my son, dog Bodhi and I were at the beginning of a 16 mile hike and 850 foot climb of the Sleeping Giant (culminating with my 13-year-old’s verification that it is indeed a “breath-taking view” – see below), chatting as we walked up an incline in the path.
I glanced up and saw a large black bear – like VERY large – about 30 yards in front of us (didn’t think to take a picture!). He/she looked like he/she had been walking across the path and heard us yacking, then stopped and turned his/her head to check us out. Motionless.
Fortunately, Bodhi was on the leash (although it didn’t appear that our great protector ever saw the bear) so I called to Gar, did a pivot with Bodhi, and walked back down the hill. My son looked back and reported that the bear was sauntering into the woods. Phew.
We waited a few minutes and then continued our hike.
One of the dharmic things that struck me from this was the moment sight, sight consciousness, and object came together and the formations began booting up going, “Hey, wait, ah, ah, hey, that’s a fricking real bear. Danger!”
Later, in a fatherly way, I asked my son if he knew how fast he would have to run to out-run a bear. He wasn’t sure so I taught the boy – “Just one step faster than me and Bodhi.”
Anyway, tomorrow I’m off to Omaha to sit with Nonin and his students for sesshin. The forecast temperature is for the mid 90′s (no AC, of course) so I think I’ll be talking about Dongshan’s “No Heat, No Cold” with the catchy line “when it’s hot let the heat kill you.” Gotta do it.