Some time last year, a hunter’s bullet apparently did something the Carlton Complex Fire could not: it ended the life of a female black bear the world came to know as Cinder.
In Washington, it is a bear’s lot in life to be hunted and possibly killed. Nothing unusual about that, and most bears taken by hunters die in anonymity. Unless the bear had become internationally famous as the feisty survivor of excruciating injuries suffered during the 2014 Carlton Complex.
You can re-familiarize yourself with Cinder’s back-story by reading Ann McCreary’s article on page A1. Even now, it’s a remarkable tale about an unlikely sequence of events. The young bear from the Methow Valley was saved, lovingly cared for and successfully treated for her wounds. Ultimately, that meant Cinder needed to be taken back to where she belonged, so she could live out a natural existence.
Humans went to extraordinary lengths to bring Cinder back to health so she could be released into the woods near Leavenworth (her exact location was never publicly revealed, but her movements were tracked by means of a GPS collar). She lived a couple of years in that setting. We periodically checked up on her and hoped that when she became mature enough there might be cubs.
Although her behavior, by all accounts, never varied much from bear-like, her caretakers and the rest of us who were following Cinder’s story inevitably anthropomorphized her to some extent. Because we don’t understand animal emotions as well as we do our own, we attribute some human qualities to animals we care for, and we give them names. Cinder became a heroic figure and inspirational symbol of resiliency, one that people identified with.
If we were writing Cinder’s obituary, we’d say that she left behind no known family members. But she is survived by a world full of people who came to know her, or know of her, and who will mark her passing with a moment of sadness and gratitude.
We need your top 10
It’s too late to add Cinder’s death to our ballot for the top news stories of 2018, but it’s not to late to cast your ballot and help determine what our Year in Review coverage will look like in the Jan. 2, 2019, issue of the Methow Valley News.
You’ll find a ballot on page A3 of this week’s newspaper, or you can also vote at our website, www.methowvalleynews.com. Scroll down under the “Latest News” bar and click on “Help pick the Top 10 News Stories of 2018.”
We’ve received a fair number of ballots already but we would like the results to be as representative as possible. Your votes count! And, for the record: We didn’t gerrymander, suppress voters or impose poll taxes.
The Jan. 2 issue will also include other Year in Review coverage such as arts, sports, business and other transitions. It turns out that a lot happens here in 12 months, and it’s worth a few moments to reflect on that as we plunge into the next year.
I’m almost too embarrassed to do this — almost, but not quite, because what’s the point of owning a newspaper if you can’t embarrass yourself now and again? I’m about to go through the ultimate shared Methow experience of looking for a place to live – which, if nothing else, helps me empathize with many of you.
My very gracious landlords for the past seven years want their Cub Creek cabin back, and I can’t blame them. So here I am in the middle of winter (looking for sympathy too, since it finally snowed a bit) in need of a suitable abode and realizing just what a challenge that is. Well, yes, I did check my own classified ads, and the offerings are meager, to no one’s surprise. So I’m resorting to the tried and true Methow method of putting the word out. Consider it out.
For the record, I’m a non-smoking, non-drinking, pet-less, reliable tenant — and the broken clothes dryer was not my fault.