If the quality of a bear siting is determined by how close it is and how much it makes you shake, than I've had some quality sightings this summer, having nearly walked right into one, and coming almost as close to another.
After spending the morning in the office I stopped by the hippie grocery store on the way home. I picked out a bunch of things and once I had purchased the items I stuffed them into my purse. Except it got full so I carried another bag. It was a paper bag. And I live in a rain forest.
I was nearly home when I saw a medium sized black bear climb into the dumpster for the building I was passing. It managed to bend the lid up and squeeze in, head first, then it rummaged around, I considered running past while it was inside, but it seemed risky. Instead I waited and watched the bear climb back out with something in its mouth. Then I watched as the bear settled next to someone's car and gnawed on trash for a bit.
I advised a man to the location of the bear and he suggested I go around. I had been contemplating this possibility and eventually gave in, when the bear showed no sign of losing interest in the slice of bread it was devouring.
As I was walking down a windy side street, I suddenly felt the bag tear and oats started spilling out onto the pavement. Precious organic oats. For precious oatmeal cookies. I had to hug the bag the rest of the way home as I contemplated how representative a moment like this is of my life.
Walking. In the rain. Organic groceries. Falling. Traffic detour due to black bear. Home safe. finding humor in it all.
I tried to be the black bear paparazzi while juggling the groceries and my blackberry, then again once I had put the groceries away. It's nearly impossible to take a good photo with full hands and while shaking from nerves.
I'll mention again that bears are deceptively cute. You just want to hug the little bastards. Then they claw your face off.