It seems that everyone on my street has seen the neighborhood bear except me. “Didn’t you see him yesterday between those two houses?” the neighbors asked. Or, “I just saw him in the bushes in your back yard,” someone else said. So I look and I look, but I don’t see him.
By now I am feeling like my granddaughter Sophia, who when she was about four years old and squeezed between her two older sisters in the back seat of my car, was dismayed that she didn’t get to see a dead skunk in the road. I didn’t know why she started crying just after I announced, “Phew! There’s a dead skunk in the road!” but when I asked her she said, “I didn’t get to see the dead skunk. Everybody gets to see the dead skunk in the road except me.” My husband and I often repeat her statement whenever we have any kind of disappointment that leaves us feeling left out.
But I didn’t want to be disappointed this time. I was determined to see the bear. I heard from one neighbor that the bear began his rounds just before dawn, so I programmed my coffeemaker to brew a pot of coffee at 5:00 AM last Sunday morning. Up by 5:30 AM, I turned a chair toward the window in my living room. I sipped coffee and I waited. Surely he would appear to munch on the wild plums by our driveway. We had seen the scat that proved he enjoyed those quite a bit! So I stared at those bushes, but I saw nothing.
My cat Molly settled in to watch with me although she didn’t know what we were watching for. Filling the morning quiet with her gentle purr, she seemed clearly pleased that I had gotten up so early just to sit with her. Or so she thought.
I’m guessing that if you’ve read this far you are ready to hear, “At last, there he was—the bear!” But nope. No bear. Yet sitting silently as the sun cast a pink light on the mountains, I realized there was so much more to observe. Molly and I heard a couple of squirrels chattering quietly to one another about their plans for the day. We saw a hummingbird silhouetted at the feeder, his feathers all ruffled up with morning dew.
Although I hadn’t opened my Bible yet, I knew it was replete with verses to speak into our morning watch. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24) I whispered to Molly. I didn’t see the bear, but I did see wonderful reminders of the glory in each new day—and of how we should honor God by watching vigilantly as He unfolds it.
I’m glad I didn’t miss that early morning watch, but I’d still love to see the neighborhood bear before he goes into hibernation, his belly full of our wild plums. If you happen to see him, please tell me. Oh, and if you see a dead skunk in the road, please tell Sophia.