berries, cherries and bears, oh my

“Haven’t you ever thought of living
unconsciously like bears, sniffing the earth,
close to pears and the mossy dark,
far from human voices and fire?

Nâzım Hikmet Ran


(a mama bear and her cub perch high in the wild cherry trees / Julie Cook / Cades Cove, TN / 2018)

Some folks would say it’s the sign of an impending cold winter…
What with the numbers of bears we’ve seen in just a two-day span, gorging themselves
on berries and apparently the prolific wild cherries that grow plentiful in the
Smokey Mountains.

Twelve bears and counting.

An amazing feat really given that we’ve been coming to this area on and off now for 35
years and have seen maybe a total of 5 bears over the course of that time—
and those were just at a glance here or there.

Today we ran into 5 more bears with one almost literally running into me.
We were actually walking through a field along the woodline, walking away from one of
the few remaining original cabins in Cades Cove when my husband turned to say something to me
yet he could only muster that single word again, BEAR!!

I turned just in time to see a small black bear right behind me before he kindly bolted
into the woods.

Next, as we were exiting out of the cove we saw a mom and cub perched high in the wild
cherry trees enjoying a late brunch.

Then later in the evening, on one final drive through the cove,
we came upon another young bear eating fast and furiously…


(all bears seen in Cades Cove / Julie Cook / 2018)

Not knowing when I’ll make it back this way, as it’s been about 5 years since our last trip,
I savor these moments.
Breathing in deeply, holding it as long as possible before slowly exhaling.

These snippets, these glimpses of things that are truly greater than our hurly-burly
hectic ant-like lives…
lives spent hurrying here and there as we always seem oh so preoccupied and
tremendously busy…I consider these moments, these gifts of time, one of the
greatest privileges offered.

Being able to see animals in their natural habitat, in a place that is stopped in time,
doing what they do best…simply living and being the wild animals that they are…
is a gift…a gift offered by the Creator to one of the created…

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him
and for him.

Colossians 1:16

16 comments on “berries, cherries and bears, oh my

  1. oneta hayes says:

    Twelve bears? And you still go outside? What are you drinking or thinking? Or are you thinking at all? 😀

  2. Ha! Love Oneta’s comment. Should you really be going outside? Have you thought this through?

    We’ve just returned from camping at the lake, now no longer pristine, no longer wild. No self respecting bear would come within 20 miles of the place anymore, but the kids all remember one time when we were all sitting around the picnic table and suddenly realized this little black bear had joined us and was just sitting there eating our marshmallows. We just all got up quietly, got into the car, and let him have whatever he wanted.

    • The bulk were in cades cove and they were paying all the gawking humans no never mind— the only one I really worried about was the mom and cubs we almost ran into hiking— after that we joined gawking tourists— now we use to go to cades cove and would see hundreds of deer throughout the national park but we saw all of 4 which was troubling

      • oneta hayes says:

        I can see myself in the middle of a circle with three bears going east, three going west, three going north, and three going south. I’m afraid I just invented a new game for bears. It will be called “Our treat’s in the middle” or something else equally unsatisfying to me. 😀

  3. LightWriters says:

    amazing pics —it’s a bear’s world out there during berry season!

  4. You are one brave lady, dear Jules! ❤

  5. SLIMJIM says:

    Amazing pictures, simply amazing!

  6. Lynda Clayton says:

    This reminds me of the time we lived a few hours north of here. The bears would come into town and wander around as they cleaned the fruit off the crabapple trees. My daughter lives even further north now and we see bears in their backyard periodically. Care must be taken though it is such a blessing to enjoy them.

  7. Dawn Marie says:

    Amazing photos, Julie! Were you frightened? I was FOR you just looking at them, giggles!!

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