Grizzly Bear Painting in the Works
In Yosemite we have black bears; which do, by the way, come in several colors including brown. This guy is a grizzly. Grizzly bears are usually much larger, have shorter ears, and a hump on the shoulders.
Before European colonialists arrived and began killing grizzlies en mass, they were once found across much of western North America, and sometimes even into the plains ares. "Grizzly bears perhaps numbered 70,000 individuals when Europeans first arrived. In contrast to the Native Americans, who coexisted with grizzly bears for many thousands of years, European settlers slaughtered every bear they could find. In just 150 years, humans shot, trapped or poisoned 98% of the grizzly bears in the lower 48 states." (Grizzly Times) Today the range of grizzlies extends through Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington State, Canada, and Alaska. Here in Yosemite there were once grizzlies, but the last known grizzly in Yosemite was shot in 1895 at Crescent Lake. Of course, grizzlies are popular residents in Yellowstone.
This particular painting is based on a photo I took of a grizzly at the San Diego Zoo. While I was photographing this bear one of the tour buses drove by, and I heard the guide say that the two grizzlies at the zoo were brothers from Yellowstone. Their mother had been teaching them bad habits as cubs (i.e. getting into human food) that would put them in danger, so they were placed with the zoo.
I've said this a lot, but it is worth repeating. Follow the rules for food storage and animal safety when you visit national parks. What seems like a magical moment to you often put the wildlife in danger. Bears that get used to getting human food (whether purposefully or not on the humans part) often become a danger to humans and have to be euthanized. What for you was a cool TikTok, for a bear might mean death, or at best captivity. Don't be selfish take care of our shared spaces and their inhabitants.
Check out this video about the history of bear management in the national parks: https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/grizzlybear.htm
A Riddle and Some Rules
To my knowledge there is only one recorded instance of an animal killing a human inside of Yosemite National Park.
Can you guess what animal it is?
Nope, not a bear, keep guessing... not a mountain lion either... think more on the dainty, herbivore side... that's right, a mule dear. Most people would be shocked by this fact, but it is true. The deer around here are pretty "tame" in the sense that they aren't easily spooked by people, and go about their day while people are near. However, these animals are still wild animals, and for their sake and ours it is important to "keep them wild," by not feeding or getting too near them. It is important for wild animals to retain their wild instincts for survival.
Yosemite is a magical place and the "tame" deer make it feel even more like a Disney movie, but it is not. Please, please be respectful of the space and its residents. Follow the rules about food storage and not feeding wild animals. What seems like a magical moment for you can turn into a deadly situation for you or the animal. Don't be selfish, enjoy the animals from an appropriate distance, don't go traipsing through the meadows (they are protected), store your food properly, throw away your trash, and remember that approximately 4 million people visit this park yearly. If what you are wanting to do were multiplied by 4 million (or even several thousand), would it negatively impact the environment? If yes, then don't do it.
This weekend I had the opportunity to display my work during Artober at the Oakhurst Fall Festival in the Yosemite Sierra Artist booth. I wasn't sure about participating-- it was a little last minute and I was out of town when the opportunity arose. The week was already wildly busy, and I just wasn't sure how well it would work.
Luckily, I recently read SELL OUT: The Definitive Guide To Selling Your Art Online Without Losing Your Damn Mind by Rachel Wilkins. In one chapter she discusses taking opportunities and making the most of them. So I decided to stop worrying and just make it happen.
I am so glad I did. I met some truly lovely people and made some great connections and new friends. The weather was absolutely beautiful, there was a great turn out, and I even got to meet a duck in a stroller... in my book that is pretty fantastic. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is easy to make excuses, to worry about how things will go, and to just decide to skip something. It is certainly more work to put yourself out there and do things that you aren't quite sure will work out, but the reward can be really great in the end. I think when we shift our goals and mindset a bit to base them on the specific opportunity the outcome can be wonderful.
How about you, do you struggle with taking a leap like this? Do you struggle with trying new things, or feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks required for events? Maybe you have a great tip or trick that you can share. Let me know in the comments. I'd love to hear from you.