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Bears Through Town

The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment

Is it a myth or true that bears walk through the town of Tehachapi to get to the juniper berries in Sand Canyon? Black bears do live in our mountains. Bears do love juniper berries. And it is true that juniper berries ripen in Sand Canyon where bears have been seen eating them. They travel down from our mountains into our valley, but do they walk through town to get there?

Stories from people who drive home from work late, people who are night owls or suffer insomnia and people who hear animals rifling through their trash cans, have sighted bears in downtown Tehachapi. They have been spotted in the dark both late night and early morning heading east, as early as September, and even casually strolling in groups down the middle of Tehachapi Blvd.

It is a huge wish of mine to see them. Since moving into town I watch for these berry eating bears all through fall. I keep my lights low and my blinds open in case they meander by.

Years ago I wrote a poem for a picture book and sent it to publishers (getting positive critique but no publication). This year, I have decided to share it with you, hoping that it ignites your imagination and you will be watching for bears through town, too.

If you do spot any, please email me at [email protected]. I'd love to add your story to my collection.

And by the way, I do not have one story about the bears sighted going back home! But they must, right? Through town? Who knew bears could be so stealthy!

Bears Through Town

by Linda Ellsworth Crisalli

Bears walk through town

dead of night

quiet steps

shadows tight.

Silent beasts

some big, some small

walk the streets

past city hall.

Past the library

past the stores

silhouettes paint

neighbors' doors.

They walk, not heard

they walk, not seen

through quiet town

of sleep and dream.

From mountaintop

through streets they go

to canyons where

tart berries grow.

They feast, they eat

they munch, they swallow

juniper berries

in the hallow.

When they are done

they turn towards home

but day is bright

where do they roam?