I realize I've built up the bear episode. People are saying to me: "You have to tell us about the bear! The bear!!" As if the bear story is going to be exciting in some way beyond the simple "I saw a bear" part of it. I'll do my best, but this is all secondhand. So.
The Bear Story
We went camping! And on the third morning! Raphael! Woke up early! And made a fire! And then I got up and decided to make breakfast! Burritos! With eggs! And beans! And onions! And garlic! And maybe with some kind of herbs (I forget!)! And Trader Joe's canned buttermilk biscuits smashed onto a griddle and cooked over the fire! So! While I was making breakfast, Raphael took the dog and they went on a lovely morning stroll through the woods up past the ranger station! And they came to a bend in the path! Like in a fairy tale! Or a horror movie! And Lila began to smell the air! So they went around the bend anyway, in spite of the way the dog was sniffing strangely at things! And in spite of the similarities of the situation to fairytales and horror movies! And after the bend, Raphael happened to look up! For no reason that he can recall! Because who does that! And, anyway, like, 80 feet away! He saw a bear! Halfway up a big, dead tree! Clawing at the tree like it was trying to get things that were inside the tree! Grubs, maybe! Or termites! Or honey! Or gold! So Raphael put up his arms and tried to look big while backing away! Yes! He did that! And Lila attempted to convey her anxiety about the whole bear situation by putting her ears back and glaring at him! ("Are you crazy?! Don't look big! Look small! Do your ears this way!") And the bear glanced around and maybe saw them! And clearly decided that honey and termites and possibly gold offered a better return on its investment of time and clawing than humans and dogs! And after that Raphael and Lila returned to camp! Safe and sound! Not eaten by a bear at all! And the burritos were delicious! Especially from Raphael's point of view, since he had seen a bear! And lived to tell the tale! Wow!