"I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High."
* Psalm 9:1-2 *
Family: Ursidae, Bears
Description: In the East, nearly black; in the West, black to cinnamon, with white blaze on chest. A "blue" phase occurs near Yakutat Bay, Alaska, and a nearly white population on Gribble Island, British Columbia, and the neighboring mainland. Snout tan or grizzled; in profile straight or slightly convex. 3 pairs of upper incisors equal in size. Male much larger than female. Ht 3–3' 5" (90–105 cm); L 4' 6"–6' 2"(137–188 cm); T 3–7" (7.7–17.7 cm); HF 9–14 5/8" (23–37 cm); Wt 203–587 lb (92–267 kg).
Endangered Status: The Louisiana Black Bear, a subspecies of the Black Bear, is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as threatened in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. Numbers of this bear apparently held steady until European settlement and its attendant population explosion and large-scale habitat alteration. Black Bears were heavily hunted and their woodland habitats were logged and converted to farmland. The Louisiana Black Bear today survives primarily along the Tensas and Atchafalaya River basins in Louisiana, although it wanders farther afield. A recent threat to the Black Bear has been illegal killing and the export of its gall bladders to Asia.
Warning All North American bears can be dangerous in the following situations: when accompanied by cubs, when surprised by the sudden appearance of humans, when approached while feeding, guarding a kill, fishing, hungry, injured, or breeding, and when conditioned to human foods, as has occurred in some Canadian and U.S. parks. Do not feed, approach, or get between a Black Bear and its food or cubs; it will usually flee, but can cause serious injury or even death. Black Bears can run up to 30 miles per hour and can climb trees. Campers must firmly seal up food and place it out of reach. Bears will break into unattended vehicles if they smell food. Most of the negative interactions that take place between Black Bears and humans occur with bears that have diminished fear of humans and are habituated to human foods.
Similar Species: Grizzly Bear is usually larger, and has generally somewhat concave facial profile, muscular hump above shoulder region, longer foreclaws, and outer pair of upper incisors much larger than 2 inner pairs.
Breeding: Mates June–early July; litter of 1–5 (usually 2) young born January–early February; birth weight not much over 7 oz (200 g).
Habitat: In East, primarily forests and swamps; in West, forests and wooded mountains.
Range: Most of Alaska southeastward through Canada to n Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and Maritimes south through New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and Appalachian Mountains to Florida; south on West Coast through n California; Rocky Mountain states to Mexico. Also in Arkansas and southeast Oklahoma.
Discussion: This uniquely North American bear may be seen at any time, day or night. It occupies a range usually of to 10 square miles (20–25 sq km), although sometimes up to 15 square miles (40 sq km). The home range of the male is about double the size of that of the female. The Black Bear typically walks with a shuffling gait, but in its bounding trot it attains surprising speed, with bursts up to 30 mph (50 km/h). A powerful swimmer, it also climbs trees, either for protection or food. Although this animal is in the order Carnivora, most of its diet consists of vegetation, including twigs, buds, leaves, nuts, roots, fruit, corn, berries, and newly sprouted plants. In spring, the bear peels off tree bark to get at the inner, or cambium, layer. It rips open bee trees to feast on honey, honeycombs, bees, and larvae, and will tear apart rotting logs for grubs, beetles, crickets, and ants. A good fisher, the Black Bear often wades in streams or lakes, snagging fish with its jaws or pinning them with a paw. It rounds out its diet with small to medium-size mammals (including the young of deer, Elk, and Moose) or other vertebrates.
In the fall, the bear puts on a good supply of fat, then holes up for the winter in a sheltered place, such as a cave, crevice, hollow tree or log, under the roots of a fallen tree, or in a den that the bear excavates. In the Hudson Bay area, Black Bears will sometimes den in a snowbank. Excrement is never found in the Black Bear's wintering den. The bear stops eating a few days before retiring, but then consumes roughage, such as leaves, pine needles, and bits of its own hair. These pass through the digestive system and form an anal plug, up to 1 foot (30 cm) long, which is voided when the bear emerges in the spring.
Sows mate during their third year, with most producing one tiny cub the first winter, two or three on subsequent breedings. While the mother sleeps in the den, the almost naked newborns nestle into her fur. The mother often lies on her back or side to nurse, but sometimes sits on her haunches, with cubs perched on her lap, much like human infants; they may nurse for about a year. The female Black Bear is not receptive to males while nursing.
This bear is mainly solitary, except briefly during the mating season and when congregating to feed at streams, on large carcasses, and at dumps. Bears are often a problem around open dumps, becoming dangerous as they become habituated to human foods; occasionally people have been killed by them. Hunting Black Bears is a popular sport in some areas, both for the flesh (which must be well cooked because of trichinosis) and the hides, used for rugs. The helmets of Great Britain’s Buckingham Palace guards are made of the Black Bear’s fur.
Star Spangled Banner
by Francis Scott Key
O! say can you see by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the Rockets' red glare, the Bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our Flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled Banner yet wave,
O'er the Land of the free, and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country, shall leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of fight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O'er the Land of the Free, and the home of the Brave.
O! thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their loved home, and the war's desolation,
blest with victory and peace, may the Heav'n rescued land,
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - "In God is our Trust;"
And the star-spangled Banner in triumph shall wave,
O'er the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave.
"Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain."
"Show hospitality to one another without grumbling."
"These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage."
"For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, 'You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?' They said to him, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You go into the vineyard too.' And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.' And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, 'These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.' But he replied to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?' So the last will be first, and the first last."This morning I awoke with a renewed sense of peace, a sense of direction, several passages of scripture relating to grumbling, and with this beautiful song by Mark Shultz on my mind.
In a Bible cracked and faded by the years
In a santuary filled with silent prayers
And age to age
And heart to heart
Bound by grace and peace
Child of wonder, Child of God
I'll remember you
When the color of the sunset fills the sky
When you pray and the tears of joy
fall from your eyes
When the children leave
their Sunday school with smiles
When they're old enough to teach
Old enough to preach
Old enough to leave
Age to age and heart to heart
Child of wonder child of God
Age to age and heart to heart
Child of wonder child of God
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."
The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
Pale in her fading bowers the Summer stands,
Like a new Niobe with clasped hands,
Silent above the flowers, her children lost,
Slain by the arrows of the early Frost.