These old friends are one of my favorite sights in one of my favorite places.
They were the first thing I saw when I visited the Museum of Natural History for the first time, ducking out of the hot, crowded New York Summer and finding inside the magic, dark and cool, of that magnificent place. It found me when I most needed it, nearly ten years ago, when I was just out of college and lonely and restless and out-of-place in the city. I walked in on a rare quiet day (it's never been so quiet, ever, on any of my further visits) and laid eyes on this diorama and tears crept into my eyes. We don't have a word for the particular way you love a place, but we need one.
I don't expect it to make sense what the museum means to me, the spell it has, no matter how many times I visit. I keep it in a safe place beneath my ribs, where we keep the books that found us at just the right time, the films and albums, the feeling of being understood, of being loved when you least expected it.
If you ever want to find them, the bears wait for you, huge and grand, in the Hall of North American Mammals.