This Black Bear on the bummel* appeared a few months ago at the intersection of Chestnut and Pike in Clarksburg, West Virginia.
I really like this pictured beast. With his classic bindle, Cardinal companion, and determined, forward-looking attitude, he’s a new kind of bindlestiff. Has he hit the road in search of a mate, or has he decided to see what’s on the other side of the mountains?
The Black Bear, Ursus americanus, was once a rare sight in West Virginia, but major conservation efforts beginning in the 1970s were very effective. The population has grown in recent years. Now bears are present in every county in the state, and they are seen in some surprising places.
The Black Bear is the state animal, so this wandering bear is appropriately accompanied by a Cardinal, the state bird.
This untitled mural is by Christopher M. Schultz.
“A ‘Bummel’,” I explained, “I should describe as a journey, long or short, without an end; the only thing regulating it being the necessity of getting back within a given time to the point from which one started. Sometimes it is through busy streets, and sometimes through the fields and lanes; sometimes we can be spared for a few hours, and sometimes for a few days. But long or short, but here or there, our thoughts are ever on the running of the sand. We nod and smile to many as we pass; with some we stop and talk awhile; and with a few we walk a little way. We have been much interested, and often a little tired. But on the whole we have had a pleasant time, and are sorry when it’s over.”
— Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men on the Bummel