Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Bears, Oh My!

side of house where bears went after I scared them.alt.jpg

side of house where bears went after I scared them

trash cans where bears were seen when I pulled up
trash cans where bears were  when I pulled up.

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?

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About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
This entry was posted in life story, memoir, personal growth, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Bears, Oh My!

  1. SuziCate says:

    My parents had a bear that came back every night at the same time…it ate forty pounds of dog food and a tub of bird seed…they used to keep it on their porch in plastic barrels. Once they relocated the dogfood/birdseed inside the house, the bear moved on.


  2. clarbojahn says:

    It’s good to know that your parent’s bear moved on when the food was removed. wow! that was a lot of food! That’s one reason I make sure there is nothing in the trash cans that a bear would want. No mess to pick up. 🙂
    We keep our dog kennel in the basement so she won’t keep barking at raccoons and bears that come at night. The raccoons come during winter for our bird feeders till we learned to take them in at night but we still let our dog sleep in the basement. That way she only barks if it’s really necessary and we get a good nights sleep.
    Thank for the comment, Suzicate 🙂


  3. nrhatch says:

    I would be a bit nervous wandering around after dusk with bears in the vicinity.

    Stay safe, Clar!


    • clarbojahn says:

      Thank you, Nancy, I will.
      I’m more nervous for my dog Midnight who will bark and upset the bear if he’s around and I will be forced to leave her to her fate.
      It may not come to that, hopefully.


  4. Widdershins says:

    A little awareness goes a long way eh?


  5. jannatwrites says:

    You are braver than I am. I would refuse to take anything out after dusk. Better yet, I would make hubby do it no matter what time of day it was 🙂

    Bears are powerful creatures and I wouldn’t want to meet one face to face, that’s for sure. Be careful!


    • clarbojahn says:

      Yes, I am. I hardly go outside except to the car and then I whistle after dusk. I wouldn’t want my hubby to meet one of the bears either. 🙂 He might do something rash.


  6. We’ve got deer, raccoons, red foxes, badgers, and assorted other wildlife but, fortunately, no bears. I’m so glad they’re in a safe place now and you can relax a bit.


    • Clar says:

      Actually they are still right here on my mountain and in my backyard and front yard. I live in the country and saw a photo of a bear on facebook by a neighbor so no I can’t relax. At the end of my post I said the better fantasy would be if they were captured and brought to a different part of the state I could relax but that has not happened. You must have misread it. 🙂
      I still want to to thank you for visiting and being brave enough to comment.


  7. Patty says:

    yes to all. when we camped at Yellowstone I made my husband go with me and my flashlight to the bathroom. the bears were out ratting the trashcans near the bathrooms.


    • clarbojahn says:

      Wow!, Patty, I think I may hold it until morning if I were in your shoes. What would you’re husband have done that you wouldn’t have? I ask my husband to go with my to walk the dog around the pond path but really what can he do ? LOL.


  8. Susanna says:

    We have a couple bears that wander around in our neck of the woods. Mostly they try for the trash or the bird feeder if we are so foolish as to leave them where the bears can get them, but this spring one of them tore the screen off our mudroom door. I thought that was a bit cheeky!


  9. Pseu says:

    How exciting and scary! Take great care… but photos would be good.

    Also interesting to the UK reader is your distinction between garbage and trash… terms we don’t use in the same way here. Please could you explain?

    We have rubbish bins for non-recyclable rubbish, and two recycling bins – one for plastics, metals, glass etc that can be recycled and then another for garden rubbish with kitchen waste that is compostable.

    (I also have a compost heap in the garden for my own composting, but I don’t put cooked food in that as that is said to encourage rats)


  10. clarbojahn says:

    Thank you, Pseu. We also have recyclables and have very little in the way of non-recycling rubbish as you say (we say trash) or I say that. Some people also call them garbage bins. I also don’t put cooked food into the compost pile, not because of rats, I didn’t think of that here in the country but because we never have any. We eat almost all of our food that I cook and the stray particle of food that we don’t goes to the dog.
    I hope I don’t see them again but will try to take a photo if I do.


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