The sun’s so bright, I don’t see the large black bear in the shadows at the woods’ edge until the dog points him out with a quivering nose.

Day 3 of the thaw. A month’s worth of apple cores are beginning to surface. Inside on my computer screen, via webcam, a black bear sleeps.

In the half-light, the soft crunch of gravel: a bear-shaped shadow ambles up the road, turns onto my walk, stops in front of my door. Waits.