Grusha Russian circus bear

The gift of friendship is unparalled, and I received a warm and fuzzy gift from our dear friend in Niles, singer/songwriter Michael McNevin, who gave us an impromptu performance of his new song about Grusha the Russian circus bear. Michael is a storyteller, whose songs reflect the human experience in a kind and deeply thoughtful way.

Grusha attached himself to Michael’s heart some time ago, and as fantasy bears sometimes do, he wouldn’t let up until Michael agreed to tell the world a musical rendition of his story.

It’s a smple story which some of you may remember from my previous blog of May 7, 2012, about Grusha, he was a bike riding attraction in the circus who longed to return to his home in Siberia. Going round and round, doing the same job every day, with no hope for his future, he seems familiar somehow. Michael first saw my painting of Grusha which lives in the small Haus in our garden. and then in pure serenditity, as things often do, bear mind control took over and Michael saw my blog. The result is a charming song sure to delight all ages.

As a friend of Michael’s said “Aren’t we all Grusha?” No matter what we do, or for how long, we are “all peddling our bikes to get back home”. Home is where warmth is, where love is, where family is. Gusha is readily recognizable.

Michael’s joyful song shows Grush’s excape and his journey back to his home in Siberia. His story fills us with hope and joy in the celebration of his freedom.


While sitting in our tiny garden folly the other day, being scrutinized by the watchcat and other fey creatures I painted on its walls many years ago, my eyes fell on Grusha, and I was reminded again

why I had  painted him and his bicycle.

I read a story about the Russian trained circus bears, who could do all sorts of tricks , and about one in particular whom they named “Grusha”.  I began humanizing hm, and thought of the troubled life he led, caged in the city where hundreds of children came to see him and his companion bears entertain the crowds.

Far from his home in Siberia, he was taught to ride a bicycle.  He rode round and round the circus ring several times a day, and then repeated the feat six days a week.  A pretty boring life compared to roaming in the woods.  Lonely away from family and friends I thought.

One day he escaped on his bicycle.  Simply rode past the guard when no one was looking, out the front gate, and began his long journey back to his home.

I would like to say he made good his escape, but like so many other prisoners, he was recaptured and returned to the Russian circus.  Too bad for Grusha.

But here he is with his sad little yellow eyes, living in my little garden house, and riding through an apple orchard somewhere in Northern California.   He gives me joy whenever I see him.

His clever cycling is intently surveyed by a roomful of other fey animals and birds who wish him well.





Guarding Mouse Hole