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"The Bear Dance"
by Robert Ditirro

A short humorous narrative of 1,500 words describes a bear encounter while in the backcountry of the Shenandoah forest. Original artwork by Susan Mathias.

"Black bears in Virginiaís Shenandoah National Forest can weigh more than 400 pounds, and if thereís a well stocked garbage dump nearby, up to 700 pounds. They roam this forest in abundant numbers, nearly one per square mile. Every wilderness adventurer knows however that despite his size, Bruin is terribly shy and avoids contact with interloping humans. So donít go there and expect to see one. These were my first thoughts standing there in the darkness as the large animal crashing through the brush in front of me drew nearer..."

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