Yesterday evening, as I sat at the computer, I noticed a dark, shaggy form in the yard. I was sure I knew what it was.

In early June, yearling male bears are evicted from the family home and sent off to start new lives elsewhere. For reasons unknown to me, my back yard is on their route.

Upon confirming that it was indeed a bear, I went upstairs to make sure it didn’t topple the big garbage can that sits at the beginning of the driveway. It gave the can a sniff and proceeded on its way.

What does this have to do with creativity? When I first moved to the Catskills in 1993, I was, due to a traumatic encounter with a bear in Yellowstone National Park, terrified of bears. The idea that one could lounge in my own yard literally immobilized me. Now I’m pretty casual about a siting–not that I plan to turn one into a pet.

Imagination makes the difference. In the past, I imagined the worst, envisioning many creative forms of death. Last night I used my creativity to wonder what it might be like to be a young bear, still small in bearish terms, alone for perhaps the first time in its life, unsure of its future.

We can create anything with our imagination. What did you create today?