Saganaga Lake, Boundary Waters Wilderness, MN – July 7, 2012
My eyes saw a flicker of movement just beyond a shadow. I stared and saw only branches, leaves, and light, but something felt off, some little piece of darkness that didn’t fit, didn’t shift with the wind.
I looked at the trees, followed the lines of their branches, tried to see into the shadow of the forest. I dipped my paddle into the water and pulled myself quietly closer. The shadow shifted and I saw its two round, black eyes staring at me.
Recognition flickered to life, my breath stopped, and adrenaline flooded my blood. Nothing makes you feel the wilderness around you like staring into a bear’s eyes. In a single glimpse, they capture all that is wild and beautiful.
We stared at each other, the world still and waiting, pulled tight with anticipation. I could see the brown snout, the fur darkening to black by over its face, the round curve of its ears held at attention. Then the shadow sank into the forest and disappeared, leaving me to wonder if I’d imagined it all.