I've been long-accustomed to various animals crossing the drive as I go up when headed out, or come down upon my return. Deer, rabbits, wild turkey, a particularly daredevil squirrel and his or her siblings or cousins, the occasional snake, a couple of turtles. I've seen fox a few times. Brownie, my neighbor's cow, made an appearance on the drive during his one and only jailbreak.
The woods are thick on either side of the drive, and the creatures disappear quickly into the cover offered there.
Today, for the first time, it was a bear that crossed my drive as I drove home.
The black bear, not fully grown but not a cub either, came out of the woods to the right of me, not far ahead of the car, moving fast. Very fast. I braked and stared hard but the bear was already gone, to my eyes at least, nor did I hear any sounds of his passage into the deeper woods.
Even startled and at high speed, the bear moved as gracefully and even elegantly as any wild animal I have ever seen.
The bear was gone long before I could grab my camera, but I still got out and took a few steps into those woods -- the same woods I have walked so often without ever seeing any indication of a bear, much less the real thing.
But I wasn't dressed for moving through the woods, not quickly anyway, and the bear was. Besides, I'd already startled him — or her — once today, and that was enough.