On the first day of spring,
I hike up the Major Welch,
the tallest mountain within
60 minutes of New York City.
Halfway up to the summit,
a hungry black grizzly bear
emerges from hibernation
and confronts me directly.
I try to remember the choices
I learned as an Eagle Scout:
stand your ground, maintain
direct eye contact—don’t yell
or scream, speak in a soft voice.
The bear embraces me like a brother.
I even thought I saw him smile.
I forgot I’m wearing my father’s cap
inscribed with Teamster’s Union

Local 177