It took me a few days to notice this, but on the floor by my wood stove I found something out of place: a small cube of Dead Sea salt. I had it in a corner of the cabin by some drying witch-hazel leaves. It was probably a third of its original size; two-thirds of it had vanished in the past few days. Almost certainly the culprit was the bear. How strange a thought – that those salts, the remnants of a vestigial arm of the Red Sea and the runoff from the River Jordan, should vanish down the gullet of a Catskill bear – there was something weird and Melvillean about it, just a shade too big and too irrational for the mind to understand it.