Knowing there are bears in the neighborhood is causing more anxiety than the hurricane that’s supposed to hit tonight or the earthquake that happened last Tuesday.
Last year I happened upon two bears trying to open my garbage cans when I drove up in my car. When they saw me in the car they bustled to the other side of the house, towards the bamboo. I had been so shocked that at first I thought it had been cows or calves. (We get cattle in our yard at least twice a year), Then I realized they were bears. I wasn’t scared because it was obvious that they were more afraid of me than I was of them. I had hurried inside my house to get the camera but they had disappeared when I went back out.
Then I became scared.
The next day I read in the local newspaper that there were black bears seen in the neighborhood and there were some photos.
This year people were telling bear stories in my neighborhood book club and telling me they had seen bears at the end of my road. Last week my Pilates teacher told me that the mother bear had separated from her cubs and that she had seen one of the cubs in her yard. She lives one block away. The next morning all our trash that was to be picked up was torn open and scattered around the ground. You could tell it wasn’t dogs because of the way the bags had been torn open and claw marks were on the Styrofoam pieces of trash. I had been getting lazy and been putting garbage with the trash instead of bringing it to the compost pile, and the garbage that a bear would want was all gone.
Ever since, I have been wary when I walk outside. It hasn’t stopped me but I think about what I will do if I see bears. I go through scenarios of how I will escape or not. The fantasies about what will happen if I do not escape are what bother me the most. Most often I am walking the dog around our pond paths and she starts barking and upsetting the bear. I feel I must leave her to her fate and try to run home. Another scenario is that I have half a loaf of bread to feed the fish with and I toss it to the bear and carefully walk away. I have heard that it’s better not to show fear.
When I go walking the dog around our paths, I stay very alert looking into the woods on both sides of the path.
Yesterday I brought corn husks to our compost pile and saw the watermelon rinds of the day before were all but gone. There was one left with gnaw marks on it. My imagination said it was the bear not raccoons or opossums. And I’m not lazy anymore with the garbage; all of it goes to the compost pile away from the house. And sometimes when I’m carrying the day’s garbage there after dinner in the dusk, my neck hair goes up. I feel like I’m being watched.
One final and happier scenario is that I see in the newspaper the bears have been captured and taken to the zoo or to a more distant part of the state but until then I will continue to be nervous.
Can you relate? Have you gone camping and were afraid to go to the bathroom at night? Has a similar situation happened to you?
a post you may like: https://clarbojahn.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/the-view-from-my-chair/