The world of nature is enjoyed by almost everyone . . . people like the beauty and the diversity of animals, for example . . . but people do not realize that animals of all shapes, sizes, colors, and temperaments have to face certain realities ... just as people do . . . animal families are not unlike human families in some ways . . . the establishment of a territory in which to live that is all one's own . . . the bonding of a family . . . the anticipation and finally the arrival of an offspring or two . . . the proud parents ... the protective parents . . . and love takes a lot of different forms in the animal kingdom. . . . Consider the bears as an example of the wisdom of animals ... a mother and her cubs are inseparable in their earliest weeks and months of life ... if you really want to anger a bear ... get near her cubs . . . she protects them fiercely ... as she teaches them how to hunt for food . . . how to survive in the wilderness . . . how to live . . . and how to grow . . . and the cubs have time to play and be young . . . but they also know the seriousness of what they must learn ... in order to be on their own eventually . . . and then one day, the mother will chase her cubs up a tree . . . and then abandon them . . . she leaves them on their own ... to live for themselves ... to grow and change and learn as their lives go on . . . and a huge part of her responsibility ... is to reach a point of no longer having to be responsible for others . . . their lives are their own to live . . . and she knows she can't live it for them no matter how much she cares for them . . . and it may seem cold and callous on the surface . . . especially when one sees the desperate search of the cubs for their mother . . . but she has a greater wisdom ... a broader perspective . . . and an intuitive sense that each life is valuable in what it allows its bearer to do . . . and what seems cruel on one level ... is actually the greatest gift of all on another, more important one . . . and I know of no recorded instances of an insecure mother bear preventing her cubs from becoming independent. . . .

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