[Exit, pursued by a bear.]
That was great for drama, and I think we all need a little drama in our lives. But of course the reality of the whole story is not so dramatic. And I want to share the nuts and bolts of it now, for the purpose of clarity and shared knowledge, and so you can make informed decisions about whether or not you want to worry about me. And also for those of you are saying,
KILL THE BEAR!
And those of you who are saying,
DON’T KILL THE BEAR!
I have both sets of readers. Also, I have both sets of friends in real life. I have one friend up here who just tried to send me home with a handgun.
Friends, that is not happening to me today. I am not carrying a handgun.
But we are making a change, in baby steps. Urban pacifists into mountain people. There are some gears to shift here. We do intend to accept a loan of a gun, as long as it comes with patient, slow and thorough instruction, which I think it will, thanks to our good friends the Aylsworth family.
But I don’t know when I’ll ever use that gun. And certainly not on this bear. It is a black bear, and it has been described by other neighbors who have seen it as young and male. (I can’t tell that, even though I got a closer look than anybody, but I trust my neighbors.) We do not expect it to be particularly aggressive. There are no babies involved. It just came for the food.
And there was food here. Friends, for a couple of days I was offering a nice little B&B for bears.
“Come on down, bears!”
I can spout some excuses about how the trash wasn’t secured AND the dog food wasn’t secured because Nick wasn’t home and I was managing everything by myself. But actually we weren’t bear proof anyway. This is like when you say, sure, this house is child proof, but then you have a toddler, and you find like fifteen other life-threatening things in just one room.
I’m not proud that we had to have a bear come and show us how we weren’t bear ready. But I’m not ashamed of it, either. It’s the learning curve. And this was the right bear to do it. It didn’t seem to be interested in anything except the trash cans. It didn’t growl or stand up or roar or hurt anybody. It just ate because it was hungry, and that’s something we can all relate to.
On that morning last week that I wrote the other blog post, I went down to get a neighbor who hunts, and who had early tags, so he could legally take down a bear even before the regular season. (Watch me talk like I know anything about hunting seasons!) He sat and waited for the bear some, but it didn’t show up. And then I said, well, if it isn’t coming around, then I don’t have a problem. And we left it at that.
We have seen the bear twice since then, since Nick came home, both times in the full dark before the dawn, like, 4am-ish. Both times we heard him trying to get into our vehicles, one of which had remnants of car snacks in it, and the other of which had trash in it. Both times Nick saw the reflection of his eyes and scared him off with an air horn. Both times I stayed in bed because I was like, “Honey, it is SO your turn.”
Now we haven’t heard or seen anything at all for three days. And I’ve been freely walking around the place, not at 4am, but at my usual times, working gently with this new consciousness that I am neighbors with a bear. I have some bear spray. I have an air horn. Our land is on the outside edge of a community that is all outside edge. And the whole hill is potential bear territory. I knew that. And I didn’t want to know that. And now I can’t avoid knowing that.
So, there you go. Now you can make really informed decisions about whether or not to worry about me. I’m not very worried, myself. But I also don’t pretend that what happened here last week was no big deal. And I don’t pretend that I made all good decisions, because I absolutely didn’t.
The truth is actually much less interesting than Shakespeare’s stage direction. [Sigh.] But my character will be around to play the next two acts. And THAT is what we want.