Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Benevolent Bear – A symbol of our Veterans!

I would like to start out my expressing my eternal gratitude to our veterans.   There is no way to thank the men and women of this country for their bravery and sacrifice.   I do not want to forget the families of the veterans who have also made a monumental sacrifice as their love ones leave home, putting them in harm’s way for our country!
To answer the question why would a bear symbolize a veteran?   I have chosen the bear because bears symbolize benevolence, bravery and peace.  The bear is also a strong symbol of motherhood.  A mother bear is a devoted and determined mother!  They are a contradiction of sorts as lurking below their peaceful exterior lies a fierce warrior that will protect her family and his domain with a resolute power.

Woodland Wanderer
 In June, I had the opportunity to spend the day and photograph the bears in the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary in Orr, MN.   I had a photographers pass and roamed the field with these magnificent creatures.  They are completely wild roaming free without barriers.   They are fed of course, but they are not captive in any sense.  The volunteers respect and abide by the bears nature.
Bear Essentials

 I will cherish this exhilarating experience forever.    I must admit I was extremely intimidated, as I stood, unprotected and vulnerable in an open field with only my camera between these powerful animals and me.    I took a deep breath to calm my nerves and reminded myself as long as I respect their space, do not impede, and take care not to pose a threat to them, they will allow me to observe and photograph them.

To my amazement, my first photo opportunity was a mother bear with her three cubs.  She remained tight to the edge of the woods first, analyzing my presence for any potential threat..sniffing the air, ensuring her babes were safe.   She became more comfortable and slowly brought in her cubs within 50 yards from me.   I struggled with the intense desire to get closer to get the perfect shot and the need to uphold my unspoken promise to them to respect their world.  My respect for them paid off and even the cubs stopped to pose for me! 

 I was surprised to see how calm the bear were as they moseyed around the field looking for food, resting in the shade and taking in the beauty of their surroundings.   A calm washed over me as they transported me into their world.   The only time I felt tension was when a large male entered the field putting momma bear on extreme alert.  She rushed her babes into the woods and up a tree.   This large male had a powerful presence that unsettled me as well!


It was an incredible experience; I hope to visit again soon!   Please, please remember if you are photographing wildlife to respect their environment.  Wildlife is no different from us; we do not want our comfort zone and homes intruded on!  Do not be a wildlife paparazzi!
Black Beauty
Until next time....take care! - Mel

 Looking for gifts with bears on them?  Here are a few of my products.
Woodland Wander Paperweight

Black Beauty 12x12 print
Bear Essentials 15x15 Framed

Bear Essentials Pendant



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