Black Bear Picnicby Robert A. Tino
Can't you just imagine the conversation among these three floating down from under a canopy of twin scarlet maples across a gloriously lush meadow? "Mama, look at those animals up on their hind legs pointing at us. Do they want something to eat" Audible sigh. "Oh dear, they're back. Well, my darling, it's Fall you know and this, after all is Cade's Cove. I think it must be some seasonal migration impulse that drives them here. They just can't help themselves. Don't worry - climb the tree. Eat your honey." This unflappable maven of the family has grown accustomed to the gaggle of gawkers, peepers and pointers. Her family is simply another celebrity sighting on the most spectacular green, gold and red carpet on the planet - strewn with white lace and brown-eyed Susans. Neither a troop of strutting turkeys nor a duo of doe and fawn emerging from the deep pines can bring a string of cars to their knees as quickly as this unassuming trio. Black is definitely in fashion any season and these are the true mega-stars of the Cove. Just ask the paparazzi that pour out of the cars to get a photo opp. If you can just get your picture taken with these traffic stoppers: "That's it Stanley, get closer, go on, go on, back up, a bit more, you're fine..." But Mama stands still for it just so long, caught here briefly by a quieter kind of camera - the brush and a few watercolors. Their picnic over, their fifteen minutes of fame, over for now ... Mama and her cub-celebs will lumber back into the wild thicket where the beasts there are a little more unpredictable - and a whole lot more interesting.