On Sundays we like to give the bears a treat.
The rest of the week they eat oranges and apples, pears and plums, greens, roots and sometimes eggs, fish or chicken. (They love dandelions and wild lettuce if any one has a large pile to bring over). But they have their sweet tooth. This last Sunday was especially good. We picked up six perfect day-old strawberry spongecakes and they each got a cake of their very own.
They each ate it in their very own style. But not a one of them rushed it.
Humble Bumble’s eyes got big as I slid the cake towards him. He began very very slowly and neatly licking off the strawberry topping. This was not typical - Humble Bumble rarely does anything neatly.
Teton Totem used his huge paws to carefully pull the cake in away from me and any possibility I might change my mind. He did so ever so gently, like it was a fragile treasure. Then he looked at it, considering just how to go about eating it. Or maybe he was thinking that it was just beautiful.
Bramble, Ramble, Huckleberry Bear and Major Bear left it right where it was even though it would have been more convenient to eat if they had pulled it in to their enclosure. It didn’t seem to make sense – were they so entranced it didn’t occur to them?
Bramble used the third nail of his right paw to pierce and pick up one rosette of whipped cream at a time, going methodically around the entire perimeter of the cake, popping each into his mouth, savoring, then on to the next until they were all gone. Then he opened his immense jaws around the
cake – and took a tiny bite. Then another. And another. He was not going to “wolf” it down (bad bear manners). Every lick, every delectable morsel, was to be properly enjoyed.
Major Bear and Huckleberry Bear sent their long, long tongues out and over the cream and strawberries, pulling them back covered with sweetness. They looked like anteaters. Once their tongue was retracted they would slowly roll the cream and topping around in their mouth like a professional wine taster getting the full flavor, before sending their tongue out for another lick.
Huckleberry Bear and Major Bear live together. Huckleberry Bear, smaller and the slower eater, kept glancing over at Major Bear, worried that when he finished Major would come and take his cake. He had tragic memories of Major Bear stealing his strawberry ice cream – he had tried to hide it behind his paw, but to no avail. Huckleberry had just tidily removed all the whipped cream and strawberries when he realized Major had finished. Huckleberry picked up the entire sponge cake that remained and turning his back to Major Bear, sadly hurried, ate it in one piece.
By the time I left Ramble, 3/4 of the cake was still sitting there, guarded against who knows what by two possessive paws as he deliberated, perhaps meditated on his treat. I don’t know how long it took for him to eat it, but later that afternoon it was gone.
Sunday’s are good.
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