I saw a free bear today for the first time in my life.

I’d seen bears in zoos before, but never a non-captive bear. I’d heard of people who moved to where I live now and lived here for years without ever seeing a bear, so I was hardly expecting to get a chance of my own — merely hoping.

Today my hopes became experience.

I was waiting at a bus stop this morning around sunrise when a small black bear eased out onto the street and then loped across. There weren’t a hundred yards between us, and I was within a hundred yards of my front door.

It was so small that at first I thought it was a large dog. Only its teardrop shape and ursine gait revealed its true nature.

I had always expected more from my first experience seeing a bear. This was fun, to be sure, but hardly thrilling. More just one of those I’m-glad-I-was-there-for-that experiences.

But I am glad I was there for that.