By this time, the bear had become something of a legend among the locals of the small community. Each morning, it was not hard to find excited talk of where the bear had been seen the previous evening. If he failed to appear for a few days, concern for his well-being spread until he once again resurfaced. Never once did he damage property, raid garbage, or ever attempt to gain access to anything other than natural foods. Never once was he exposed to human violence or aggression and he returned that respect to everyone he met, even during close encounters. He was a rare enigma, a fascinating and complex creature and I wanted to know more about him.
Apparently he felt the same way about me because he inexplicably began seeking me out.
I was catching up on email late one night in the cabin when I heard the now familiar cracking and snapping of sticks that signaled the bear's approach. I listened as he sat with a "whuff" outside the door leading from my bedroom to the forest behind the cabin. He leaned his massive frame against the door, the wood cracking and groaning, then slid onto the ground. After several minutes, I began to hear deep breathing and then light snoring as the bear slept. He remained there most of the night, only occasionally shifting position, groggily swatting at bugs around his face, or groaning in his sleep before resuming the soft snoring. A not unpleasant animal odor was present throughout and when I dozed off and awoke some hours later, the smell was gone and so too, I knew, was the bear.