Of the terms in my header…”vintage” is by far the most disturbing. I wrote my university thesis about Marian Engel and her novel, Bear, which is now mouldering in some unforgotten corner of the Mount Allison University library. Vintage? Really?

Engel’s Bear, is outwardly a novel about a sexual relationship a woman has with a bear told in a pretty explicit way. Inwardly, according to my brilliant thesis, it’s about a recurring Canadian literature theme of our complex relationship with nature. Like all Canadians, when we get a bit messed up in our heads,  we find some wilderness to sort out who really are and what matters the most.

The novel won the Governor General Award in 1976 and then sort of fell into obscurity. Along comes 50 Shades of Grey and voila, Bear is re-discovered and an imgur post about it went viral.

A blog reader sent me this link to a series of Bear covers re-imagined. I love this one by Kris Mukai…


By moving to Naramata I’m living that quintessential Canadian literature dream that began somewhere around 1852 with Susanna Moodie’s Roughing it in the Bush. I’ve found the nature I’ve always craved and in a full-circle, coincidental,  ‘wee de wee de’ way, a ton of bears in the process, none of which I have gone near enough to touch let alone…

Our property is in the middle of a well-travelled bear super highway. On one side is a large treed acreage and on the other a creek that brings them down from higher country to look for food in late summer and fall.

Here is a small selection of the many photos I’ve taken in our yard.

This guy was pretty big


Mum climbed a tree to coax her cubs down when they got too scared


We saw this guy with the burrs almost every day last fall on our wildlife cam


I was talking on the phone on the deck when I felt eyes burning into the back of my head.