In late June 2010 I placed a scout camera on a faint game trail just into the national forest from my home and got these bear pictures.
Then—stay with me here—I placed the camera there again. Only I did not.
I went back a month later and could not find it. M. and I were both perplexed. She walks on that part of the forest more than anyone does, and she said that no one ever visited that spot on two feet.
But maybe some persistent hunter scouting for archery season had indeed gone there.
The camera was gone. No strap. No miscellaneous pieces. It was not like the time earlier in the summer when a black bear sow left a scout camera in pieces.
It had to be a person who took it. That meant I had lost two cameras in three months.
Then today M. comes in from a walk and says, "I had to detour to avoid your scout camera."
"What scout camera?" I asked.
"The one between our house and R.'s house."
"Does it have a camouflage pattern on it?" I asked.
She said that it did. I began to feel the sands of my self-hood shifting under my feet.
I walked up that way. I could not find it. There was a camo-painted bird house up that way. Had she glanced at it and thought that its round entrance hole was a lens? (The birds, however, have ignored it. As usual.)
She came back from walking Shelby the collie. "Are you sure you saw a camera?" I asked.
We walked out the back door, up the hill, through the brush (not to the bird house), and there it was. The missing camera. The one that I had gone back twice looking for any trace of, even once bringing her along to help.
It was not over there on the national forest, it was here, on R.'s property technically, but he would not care.
I had completely forgotten it. Instead, I had constructed a whole mental narrative of placing this particular camera at the trail crossing where I had photographed the bears. Then I went back and found it "gone." Because it was never there.
Maybe I need a rocking chair and a nice nurse to bring me a cup of soup.
The camera, meanwhile, had been in place for seven months, but its rechargeable batteries had died after three weeks. It had 29 images, nothing special.
Since there were no good images on my camera, you may visit the Boulder, Colo., Daily Camera newspaper web site and see some taken by a Colorado State University grad student.
The Denver Post picked up the story, eliciting this comment: "Why not set the cameras up in Boulder Canyon on the cement game trail to study the Lycralopes and Spandeer?"
Spandeer—We don't have as many of those right here, but you see them out by Pueblo Reservoir.